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Webber adds new twist to epic season

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Andrew Benson | 17:27 UK time, Sunday, 1 August 2010

"This is a slam-dunk one-two, isn't it?" Martin Brundle said to Christian Horner on the grid before the Hungarian Grand Prix, to which the Red Bull team principal responded with a rueful: "Thanks, Martin." And sure enough, Formula 1's pace-setting team found yet another way not to fully deliver on their dominance.

Red Bull were further ahead of the field than ever before at the Hungaroring. And even after eventual winner Mark Webber dropped behind Fernando Alonso's Ferrari at the start, this should have been an easy one-two. But yet again it did not happen.

This time, the blame fell at Sebastian Vettel's door - the German, who had romped away from the field in the early laps, let too big a gap grow between himself and the safety car at the re-start and was penalised with the statutory drive-through penalty, rejoining third.

Despite his massive pace advantage, Vettel was unable to pass Alonso, and he had to settle for the final step on the podium.

And so what had looked like being a typically soporific Hungarian Grand Prix turned into another humdinger in a stunning season that continues to get better and better. Virtually every race since the season-opener in Bahrain has been riveting.

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The latest twist in the narrative means Lewis Hamilton - who retired from fourth place with a gearbox failure - has lost the world championship lead for the first time since Canada four races ago.

The fact that it is Webber who has replaced Hamilton at the top of the standings will partly explain the annoyance Vettel was unable to disguise immediately after the race.

With just seven races to go, Webber is now 10 points ahead of his team-mate in the championship, with Hamilton in between them. With a title battle as tight as this, all the drivers know that sooner or later their teams will make the same decision Ferrari already have - to back one driver for the title over the other.

Red Bull - who have already made one important and controversial call this season based on championship positions - are not there yet. Nevertheless, had Vettel won the race with Webber second, as should have been the case, it would have been the younger man leading the points chase, and feeling that much more comfortable about things as a result.

Incredibly, Vettel has never led the championship, despite being (just) the faster driver in (by far) the fastest car - and that says all you need to know about the number of errors Red Bull have been making in 2010.

In this case, Vettel has only himself to blame, notwithstanding the problems he was experiencing with his pit-to-car radio. Not being close enough behind the safety car might seem a trivial thing for which to be given a penalty that costs a driver a race win, but the rule is there to ensure fairness and stop teams playing tactics.

In this case, it seems to have been a genuine error - but backing up the field to allow Webber to break clear was exactly what Red Bull needed Vettel to do to make their split strategy work against Alonso.

The plan, which involved not pitting Webber during the safety-car period, was to give the Australian the chance to build enough of an advantage to allow him to stop for tyres later in the race without losing position to the Ferrari, at which point Vettel would resume the lead and cruise to victory.

Instead, the penalty gave the race win on a plate to Webber - who undoubtedly drove superbly in his long stint on the super-soft tyres but was always likely to have the pace to build the advantage he needed - and an unexpected second place to Alonso.

The Spaniard remains fifth in the championship but he is now only 20 points off the lead, with 25 available for each win, and looking dangerous.

Like it or not, then, the wisdom of Ferrari's decision to promote Alonso ahead of Massa to the win in Germany a week previously was made very clear by another weekend where Alonso left the Brazilian trailing.

After being narrowly the fastest car in the race at Hockenheim, some expected Ferrari to take the fight to Red Bull again in Hungary. The Italian team themselves, though, always believed they would struggle at a track that is dominated by the sort of corners where their car is weakest.

But Ferrari thought they would be about 0.4-0.6secs adrift - the one-second-a-lap margin to Red Bull did catch them by surprise.

The size of that gap, which was obvious from the very first laps in Friday practice, led many to wonder what magic new parts Vettel and Webber might have on their cars. But it was not to do with that - it was simply to do with the characteristics of the track.

As Horner put it: "This circuit could have been made for us - loads of medium-speed corners and no straights."

That advantage, therefore, is unlikely to remain at every circuit - the gap has see-sawed throughout the season anyway, and I hear that Ferrari have some pretty major developments for the next race in Belgium on 29 August after the month-long summer break.

That information will be worrying for McLaren, who are being increasingly left behind by Red Bull and Ferrari and had by Jenson Button's own admission "the toughest day we've had racing this year".

Although it was Hamilton who scored no points at all and lost the championship lead, Button's weekend was in many ways even worse after he was left well behind by his team-mate in both qualifying and the race.

It now feels like a very long time since the world champion's last win, in China back in April. For now, Button remains very much in the championship fight, just 14 points behind Webber. But if he does not turn around his form soon he will be out of it.

Michael Schumacher, of course, has never been in it, despite professing that another title was his target when he announced his comeback last December.

It has been a difficult year for the 41-year-old, who remains a pale shadow of the man who ruled F1 for so long, but Hungary marked a new low.

His driving tactics have always been questionable to say the least, so it would be wrong to say it was a shock to see him squeeze Rubens Barrichello almost against the pit wall as they battled over 10th place and the final point in the closing laps.

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Barrichello described it as "horrible". Former F1 driver Alexander Wurz said it was "far over the line of any sporting code". Several other drivers also condemned the move.

I'm not sure it was the most dangerous thing I have seen Schumacher do on a race track, but it was certainly right up there. Amazingly, though, the decision to penalise him 10 grid places at the next race was the first time he has been punished for dangerous driving since he was retrospectively thrown out of the 1997 world championship for trying to take out rival Jacques Villeneuve in their title-deciding showdown.

So Schumacher has proved he can still do some things the way he did in his first career. It remains to be seen whether driving as fast as he used to will ever be among them.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Vettel has proved himself to be a petulant, unsporting and underwhelming driver. Also, he is not actually very good. If he was, at some point he would have converted a pole into a win. Hamilton and Alonso seem to be the standout drivers on the grid right now, followed by Webber, then Vettel and Button. Superstars prove themselves over the course of a season and at halfway point, Vettel has showed that he is pretty average and has a higher opinion of himself than is justly deserved. Good luck to Webber, a great guy, excellent driver and if he wins it, thoroughly deserving champion.

  • Comment number 2.

    It's just incredible, 20 points cover the top 5

    Lets hope it comes down to November 14th in Abu Dhabi

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    It was another great race today. Although this circuit has a reputation for cooking up poor races, I think every one after 2004 has been entertaining. It's more the Barcelona track that needs to be dropped from the calendar.

    Congrats to Mark Webber, and to Red Bull, they had unbeatable pace today. McLaren have had another poor race, and they need to do some serious work before Spa if they are to claim back their lead of both championships. They've done it numerous times before, and they can certainly do it again this time.

    Schumacher deserved to be punished. We all want to see close racing, not dirty racing, but the former champion clearly never learns. Adelaide 1994 (which was cruelly unpunished), Jerez 1997, Monaco 2006 and now this. That could've been the second huge, aerial crash this year...

    Time for a rest now, but so far, this season has been terrific. And the last couple of European venues - Spa and Monza - really are two of the finest circuits in the world.

  • Comment number 5.

    Andrew: some of your comments are beyond reason this time. Get your Ferrari red glasses off and recognize that rules by the Stewards are being interpreted rather lackadaisically and inconsistently.
    Ferrari- blatant manipulation, broken rule = $100k fine- no points reduction or drive through for driver or team
    RedBull- minor infraction by Vettel= drive trough and demotion from an easy first to third. How do they measure the 10 car's length, is it a Smart car or a stretch limo- all so very inconsistent???
    These last couple of GP have left a very bad taste in my mouth and FIA is basically whistling while Rome burns. Well this F1 fan from the mid sixties on is now an ex F1 fan. It all smacks too much of results fixing.

  • Comment number 6.

    Although I will likely remain a lifetime fan of team "Silver Arrow" I must say that the Red Bull dominance in Hungary was ASTOUNDING!! and all credit to them!! Good luck on the upcoming high speed/high power tracks coming up!
    As drivers go, I take my proverbial "cap" off to Mark for what I see as an astounding drive today. Well done, lad!!.....40 laps on option tires: that is a heck of a car and a heck of a driver. Good to see you launch yourself up from "second seat" ;-)

  • Comment number 7.

    Mark Webber doesn't give much away to Vettel in the races, but he needs to start getting the better of him more often in qualifying if he's to have a chance of winning this championship: 0.4 slower on Saturday's not good enough, but he'll know it more than anyone.

  • Comment number 8.

    Congratulations to Mark Webber and the Red Bull team...another stunning victory and a well deserved win. Once again the chaos in the pit lane when the SC came out was very concerning...may seriously need to consider imposing the rule where no cars can enter pit lane when SC comes out unless they have been directly affected by the racing incident. Nonetheless a real exciting F1 season continues...loving the F1 forum on the BBC and the post analysis of the race. Great Stuff..long may it continue.

  • Comment number 9.

    I don't get it....i thought Vettel created the gap between himself and Webber under the safety car to give Webber some space to build up a lead from Alonso...i thought he was told to do so by the team..

  • Comment number 10.

    luqa1906:

    The car length measured is a Formula 1 car. It's pretty consistent. Vettel broke the rules and showed that for all his hype he is very inexperienced, naive and has a tremendous amount to learn if he is really going to challenge for a world championship.

  • Comment number 11.

    It's true. Webber is the real hero story of the season so far. Horrific accident. Bouncing back to win. Getting blamed for the coming together when it was clearly Vettel's fault. Having his nose cone nicked by his team mate. Great comment "not bad for the no 2 driver". And now leading the championship. Go Mark!

  • Comment number 12.

    Andrew: re your comments on Schumacher's move on Barricchello today, I totally agree. There's a fine line between the proper sporting competition we all expect to see at in F1 and what we actually saw today - deliberate, reckless driving intended to impede a faster driver who was trying to legitimately overtake.

    No matter how Schumacher, Norbert Haug or Ross Brawn try to downplay this, Schumacher not only crossed the line today, he took a giant big leap over it. No matter what the emotions might have been because it was Barrichello trying to pass him, Schumacher doesn't deserve one ounce of sympathy for a potentially lethal move that could have ended in a very serious crash. That it didn't is down to luck, rather than anything to do with Schumacher's "fine judgement".

    Good on the stewards for pursuing this. A 10 place penalty won't make much difference though. The guy is past his prime - and he knows it. Which makes his move today all the more damning. He's like a petulant kid.

  • Comment number 13.

    I don't buy the Vettel sleeping at the restart at all. I think it was indeed a deliberate attempt to salvage something for Webber who it initially appeared got on the wrong end of the pitstop strategy split. Who knew the options tyres could maintain it's performance for as long as it did? Vettel did not pull away from Alonso until a few laps after the restart (despite the clear pace differential between the 2 at the start of the race) and when he did drop him, Webber had managed to get around 5 seconds clear of the pair of them. Clearly he is not going to admit to team orders I don't expect them to.. "sleeping" appeared to me the lesser of the 2 evils in terms of explaining himself.

    It's obviously not prove-able but it fits the sequence of events better, unless your view is that Vettel is a complete rookie and was indeed sleeping at what is to me a pretty important stage of the championships - with the chance to go into the summer break leading the WDC. Vettel is pretty ruthless imo and not a 'sleepy' character.

  • Comment number 14.

    in addition to my comment 13: "unless your view is that Vettel is a complete rookie".. AND suddenly could not pull away from Alonso for a few laps AND then magically drop him again.

    Christian Horner may have said there were no team orders - but he especially is not going to admit to THAT is he? besides, Ferrari said there were no team orders last week - we all know what happened there!

  • Comment number 15.

    @ #5

    The BBC website had a real-time tracker of where each car was on the circuit, presumably using data from the on-board transponders or some sort of GPS. One assumes that tracking data is part of the official timing and scoring, so the stewards would have access and would therefore be able to calculate the distance between each car. Not that they'd need to, as Vettel was clearly more than ten car lengths behind. Whether that was just him not being alert or (more likely) a team call to back Alonso up and engineer a 1-2 is open to debate, but I think the radio communication on the in-lap was fairly telling. Does annoy me that EVERY stewards decision this season is being viewed as some sort of conspiracy. People watch too much X-Files. As for Schumacher, he continues to tarnish his career by pulling stupid and dangerous moves. The real concern is his inability to admit they are stupid and dangerous. Having a fighting spirit is one thing, refusing to admit defeat to the point he'll run a fellow competitor clean off the road is quite another. We've already had one huge airborne crash in F1 this season (and indeed another huge one in Superleague today), we don't need any more, especially right next to the pits.

  • Comment number 16.

    Andrew Benson writes: "This time, the blame fell at Sebastian Vettel's door."

    What? "This time." You make it sound like an isolated incident. This is by no means Vettel's first error this season and it certainly won't be last. Since about this time last year I've been arguing that he is vastly overrated as a driver.

    His race wins have - apart from one win from second overtaking Webber at the first corner - all come from the front. He's got an otherwise dismal conversion rate of race wins from pole position this season alone, has poor racecraft and pulls dangerous manouevres in a pathetic attempt to imtimidate better drivers. And supposedly he is "King of the Wet" despite ditching his Red Bull in the rain twice last season alone.

    Heck, even his victory in the Torro Rosso in the wet is not so impressive when you acknowledge that car was designed by Adrian Newey and had a Ferrrai engine. All things considered it has been particularly galling to hear many trot out "future Driver's Champion" and seemingly rate Vettel on a par - and sometimes above - actual F1 title winners like Alonso, Hamilton and Button.

    But the absolute worst thing about Vettel is his pathetic spoilt attitude where he blames anyone and everyone other than himself for his mistakes. He was at it again today gesticulating furiously during his drive-through penalty when he brought that punishment entirely on himself. Worst still was his "crazy" gesture towards Webber at Turkey when the fault was clearly and absolutely 100% his for crashing into Webber.

    Indeed, Vettel is overrated and a petulant little child. I'd back Alonso, Hamilton, Button and increasingly Mark Webber to outthink and outrace him every time in equal cars. I am sick of the sight of the guy and his error strewn drives. I hope ANY of the four aforementioned drivers beat him to the F1 Championship.

  • Comment number 17.

    Have to agree with most of the comments regarding Vettel, he is a very quick driver but not a very good racer, bit like Trulli and Ralf Shumacher. I think it likely that he was caught napping at the restart and do admire his honesty in admitting it was his mistake once he became aware of the reasons for his penalty (if only more drivers where that honest in admitting their mistakes).

    As for the conspiriacy theories about team orders at the restart, really? You do know that all pit to car radio transmissions are recorded and monitored, do you think that these wren't checked? Because if they had been any such colusion would be obvious as I find it highly unlikely that Red Bull (or any team) would have codes in place to deal with such unique circumstances.

  • Comment number 18.

    @16 fair enough it isn't Vettel's first mistake this season but you're making it out as if his failure to convert pole positions are ALL down to him. It was mechanical failures that prevented him winning the first 2 races! and to downplay his Torro Rosso victory in italy is absurd! That car was definitely a backmarker, the rain equalised things somewhat but he still wiped the floor with the entire field that day. He might not be as good as some people makes him out to be (you need time to tell) but he IS very talented and being petulant to me doesn't really detract from that.

  • Comment number 19.

    7 Poles by Seb Vettel and only one won from that impressive statistic is not a good conversion rate at all. Yound Seb needs to come down a peg or two and look at himself very carefully. He is very quick to thrust an index finger into the lens of the camera on Sat to signify his no. 1 status on the day. Yet he is reluctant to examine himself when he gets it wrong, and that is happening a lot more often than must be comfortable for Red Bull. The reason for today's punishment is plain to see.
    The question is who will tell him that? Christian, Uncle Bernie or another driver...!!?

  • Comment number 20.

    Rather silly to give grief to Barrichello as some have done. It was an exceedingly dangerous move from someone who did witness Imola '94 first hand and allegedly battled for better safety in F1.

    This is the guy who walked alond the starting grid in Monza 2001 (after 9/11 and Zanardi's incident) urging people not to do silly moves and overtake at the first corner. Is this the same man? Or is it a sign of desperation from someone who is slipping further backwards and damaging the image of the Mercedes brand in the process?

    This could have been a very nasty and serious incident, how could anyone possibly defend it as tough racing? There's a line between aggression and outright idiocy, Schumacher this time crossed it, full stop. I have always fought in his corner when I thought he was unduly bashed, but this time he is inexcusable. Anyone who blames Barrichello in this instance has his judgment clouded by other factors.

    Also about Schumacher, as it's a matter of a heated ongoing discussion, I agree that it is apt to remind the times where the appointed driver n.1 was substantially favoured by team orders, but - for the sake of fairness - it's also due to highlight when the same driver was at the receiving end of team orders. I specifically refer to Malaysia '99, Europe 2002, Hungary and Monza 2004.

    In Malaysia, Schumacher was returning from a serious injury and yet wiped the floor with everyone, only to give the victory away to Irvine. I do not recall people being up in arms against it at the time.

    In the other 3 GPs I quote, Schumacher was significantly faster than his team mate in the race, but he was told to hold stations.

    So Irvine and Barrichello as well have benefitted from that policy at times. As I said, it's just worth emphasising that too, to give a proper assessment of the matter.

  • Comment number 21.

    jamiewatford, i have to agree with you. My estimation of Vettle went to an all time low after he ran into his own team mate Webber & after climing out of his wrecked car he then made a gesture that maybe Webber had something lose in the head. I actually like Webber, he seems such a good sport and a credit to F1 & his country. Schumi is the same as ever, always playing dodgems on a circuit where accidents will kill, WTG Rubens. It now seems that the hours of testing that schumi did paid off, but now the rules have changed regarding testing & its sorting the men from the boys, keep up the excellent work Nico Rosberg!

  • Comment number 22.

    Humdinger?
    If you take away team orders and the safety car, we're still left with a boring procession. The empty seats yet again in the grandstands, suggest the sport needs more than the lottery of a safety car to provide entertainment.

    Vettel being unable to overtake in Alonso's dirty air in a car 1.2 seconds quicker, suggest the so-called fans and so-called experts, were wrong to accuse Ferrari of depriving them of racing.

  • Comment number 23.

    @17 the radio transmission is not going to reveal team orders explicitly. There are plenty of ways to give the hint though.. you can't prove there were team orders, but similarly even with the full transcript you couldn't prove that there WASN'T any team orders because they're not going to be EXPLICIT.. given this you can only speculate about what happened and it's just my opinion that Vettel was trying to back up Alonso.

  • Comment number 24.

    Is it just me but Whitmarsh's response on behalf of Mclaren is totally lacking? I think he is wrong man for the job. He should be in PR not running a multi million pound team and company. Mclaren are totally being outclassed by Red Bull, Ferrari and now possibly Renault. If it were not for Hamilton's outstanding driving capability they wouldn't be anywhere in contention. Where is the return on investment for expensive wind tunnels and aero specialists?

  • Comment number 25.

    I think Rubens took the incident incredibly well. Lucky Schumacher didn't pull that on a Hunt or a Senna. I suspect he'd have had a visit from the aggrieved driver and ended up on his backside.

    The move, with the pit wall rather than a run off area, was the worst I remember. I hope the stewards hit him (Schuey) hard for this stupidity and hopefully, as Eddie said, it will also warn people like Vettel about future moves.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ comment 5

    Why do you have to see conspiracies all over you? That is what tarnishes the credibility of F1.

    The stewards in Hockenheim handed to Ferrari the maximum penalty available to them, and by acknowledging that the sport had been brought into disrepute, they have put Ferrari in a very serious position before the Council.

    They did not have full clear evidence as in Vettel's case, as they had to assess not only during but crucially after the race what had taken place and how. It was not as clear cut as Vettel.

    My 2 cents.

  • Comment number 27.

    What a fallacy from the people who said full fuel tanks would mean longer braking areas and so more overtaking. Couldn't be more wrong. Normal, dry weekends are very predictable without refuelling and that strategy angle.

    Vettel needs to get serious and selfish now if he wants to win the world title. He can but not by trying to give Webber a break.

  • Comment number 28.

    Not even F1 is more what it used to be. Im glad that it is new name on top of the F1 drama. I hope Vettel take it

  • Comment number 29.

    All the people who complain about Schumacher's move just check some of the moves from the Eighties from Senna and Co, this kind of stuff happened week in week out, that was real racing with drivers weaving all over the place. Amazing to see Brundle defend Senna's ruthlessness by saying “oh he said it before the race that he was going to do it “. What a joke.

    Brundle is really losing it I mean how many other people were screaming at the TV screen when this highly experienced commentator could not figure out why Red Bull kept Webber out longer than Alonso. Even after they had made the strategy work by getting Webber out ahead of Alonso amazingly Brundle was still saying “oh it will be interesting to know why they did not bring Webber in at the same time”

  • Comment number 30.

    Just thought I'd add something - did anyone see Barrichello doing a little fist pump and a Vettel 'Number 1' finger inside the car?

  • Comment number 31.

    There are always what ifs in this sport - so here is another. What if Hamilton did not have his problem? He was ahead of Massa and could have finished 3rd if Vettel had dropped behind him during his drive through.
    Also Button made a very good start off the grid, but got caught out at turn one when for the second time in 8 days he seemed to have to slow down and lost a lot of momentum.

    Another hat doffed to Webber today. A decent start but from the dirty side cost him a place to Alonso, but his laps after the safety car went in were truly deserving of 25 points.


    Vettel may have been unhappy, but only had himself to blame. Pity he didn't pretend Alonso was his teammate and drive into him!

    Congratulations too to Petrov. Although a little too cautious with Hamilton, maybe at this time of his career and after such a good qulaification, a little discretion is much better than valour.

    I cant believe that Schumacher has the front to say he did nothing wrong, and although Brawn and Haug cant criticize him on record, I hope they read him the riot act in private - or just drop him. You can see from the pictures that Schumacher's wheels are right on the line at the edge of the track. So although there was - just - enough room so Barrichello did not hit the wall, he effectively was driven off the track by his erstwhile teammate. Pity he wont be disqualified from the season like in '97. Maybe he could go and join his brother in DTM.

    I must admit I would still like to see Button or Hamilton become drivers champion again this year, unless they get some updates to work soon, that is getting less likely. If they cant, then I hope it is Webber who, No 2 driver comment apart, would be a worthy champion. I would even fogive him for hitting Hamilton in Australia. If there is a God, then I hope cry baby Alonso does not win. Oops did i say that out loud?

  • Comment number 32.

    Another boring race in an awful season. Driver skill and close racing had nothing to do with it. It's about downforce, strategy, steward decisions and other arbitrary factors. The drivers cannot race because they lose downforce when they get within a second of the car in front. Vettel was lapping over a second faster than Alonso and did not have one attempt. The 2009 regulations have been a pathetic failure. At this same race 16 years ago, there were over 50 spins during practice and qualifying, because the cars were difficult to control. Schumacher qualified 3 seconds ahead of his teammate.

  • Comment number 33.

    @29 With all due respect for you and your point, I hope you are not one of those people who must bang their head against the wall to appreciate how hard it is.

    I do not care with whom your allegiances are, this could have caused a very serious and dangerous accident, but above all an unnecessary one, caused by a most experienced driver who knew at all times exactly what he was doing. Do you weight such an episode only on the outcome? Do you need an injury to label it as totally unacceptable? We are in 2010, and to me it's inexcusable.

  • Comment number 34.

    TEAM ORDERS.
    When Massa was informed that he had to let Alonso pass, i thought, here we go again & i lost interest. I believe that all contracts are seen by the governing body of F1 so they can see that no team orders are in contracts and that the race is won on the track & not on a bit of paper. For the Ferrari team boss to say that it was for the good of the team is b/s. Tell me the difference between either Ferrari coming in 1st or 2nd or the other way round, makes no difference to the constructors championship. When something as obvious as letting Alonso pass Massa due to team orders and they deny it, how insulting is that to all the fans of F1.

  • Comment number 35.

    What I do not understand is how is it possible that it takes so much time for an infraction to be investigated and then the penalty decided. How many laps did Vettel run before being penalized? Seriously, race direction need to put their act together and do things more quickly.

  • Comment number 36.

    Mark Webber did a grand job today, he's a fantastic driver and he deserves to be leading the championship! I'm disappointed that Schumacher had to resort to such dangerous tactics although given his previous record it doesn't shock me. It's poor Rubens I feel for, he's such a good guy, and even after what Schumacher did he managed to remain calm and diplomatic when talking to DC and Eddie Jordan. Hats off to the guy cos if that had been me I would have been spitting fire!

  • Comment number 37.

    A couple of other sources besides mother BBC have indicated Vettel had a radio problem all race and didn't know the safety car was coming that particular lap, and he also didn't see the lights go off on the Safety car from his vantage point. So all you conspiracy theorists how about this on: Redbull deliberately sabotaged Vettel's radio transmissions or radio to allow Webber get the jump on the field. If that is indeed the case Webber owes Vettel one- he took one for the team.

    To call someone who racks up 7 poles and god knows how many fastest laps untalented is going against the presented evidence. That his team and unreliability have cost him many points is something most people forget.
    Even if Vettel is solely to blame for the Turkey fiasco ( I'm sure Massa would have given way- but not Webber to a faster team mate), the simple fact Webber stupidly ran into the back of Heiki K is completely ignored and forgotten, yet still put on an unshakable pedestal.

    I'd like to see the comments here without the obvious tribalism bias- or if that's not possible, just a reverse of names and see if they would still be so nasty and spiteful.

  • Comment number 38.

    to Luqa1906
    After your comments last week and today, I really hope you are a man of your word, and as an ex fan we will not need to suffer your verbal diaorrhea anymore.

  • Comment number 39.

    Did anyone else watch Top Gear and their tribute to Senna last week ? If you did, you might remember Martin Brundle praising Senna and describing his overtaking maneuvers as "He would put you in a compromising position and leave you to make the decision [whether to crash or not]"

    This is pretty much exactly how Schumacher has been overtaking through out his career. But now, he doesn't appear to have that same psychological edge or the dominating speed over the others anymore and his fellow drivers are taking the gambit he throws down.

    Also, this isn't the first time Michael has put a driver into the wall. Does anyone else remember a similar incident where he nearly put Ralf Schumacher (his own brother) nearly into the wall at the 2001 Nurburgring ? So it wasn't something specific to Rubens or anything like that. Michale is just built that way - he will risk pushing his own blood to the wall to keep his position.

    I wonder how long will he continue with these tactics because the stewards are far more eager to penalize any kind of naughty behavior these days.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ comment 37

    I suppose that if Vettles radio was at fault, then even more reason to stick behind his team mate rather than make the big gap. Vettle having the faster car then Alonso still decided to stay behind then pass. If Rubens can pass the grand master of blocking the race track & still get past, then why could Vettle not race & pass Alonso?

  • Comment number 41.

    Andrew, you seem to be operating double standards as far as rule breaking is concerned.

    About Red Bull: "Not being close enough behind the safety car might seem a trivial thing for which to be given a penalty that costs a driver a race win, but the rule is there to ensure fairness and stop teams playing tactics"

    A few paragraphs later, about Ferrari: "the wisdom of Ferrari's decision to promote Alonso ahead of Massa to the win in Germany a week previously was made very clear..."

    Make your mind up!

    Well done Webbo!

  • Comment number 42.

    @40 Schumacher made a mistake at the final turn and lost exit speed, and Barrichello having passed him proved to be nearly 3 seconds faster on his fresh tyres. Vettel was at the maximum 1.2secs faster than Alonso - which on this circuit is still not enough to overtake without a mistake from the guy in front. Please don't make incomparable comparisons.

  • Comment number 43.

    @5

    'How do they measure the 10 car's length, is it a Smart car or a stretch limo- all so very inconsistent???'
    ________________________________________________________________________

    ... 10 car lengths... thats easy... 10 F1 sized car lengths, what other way could it have been.

    anyway, good race from Webber, and to be fair good race from Vettel just a school boy error possibly cost him the win. Petrov starting to show his worth, hope it continues.
    I do like schumacher, am a fan but that was just crazy driving!

    Perhaps Schumahcer really is the stig and he is getting revenge on barrichello'

  • Comment number 44.

    Comment #43 ''Perhaps Schumahcer really is the stig and he is getting revenge on barrichello''

    I. Loved. That.

  • Comment number 45.

    Interesting race, from a technical pov., but quite dull from a man-to-man, racing pov.

    Not a fan of Webber, but he's doing a great job. Personally I like Vettel. He drives great for a kid. Huge respect. Hopefully some maturity = race wins.

    Hamilton is handling himself brilliantly this year compared to last year. But Button is beginning to rag me off, though if I am a 'fan' of any of the drivers, it is Button. Even I'm getting fed up of his excuses. Pull your finger out man! You have to compete with the car you have! Not wait for the car to be perfect before you can compete!

    But registered to join this forum today as completely disgusted with Schumacher. I remember the Spa incident when he drove into the back of Coulthard. It was raining. And Schumacher was well in the lead and actually lapping Coulthard, so Schumacher had zero reason to be pushing that hard. But he was. It was then I decided he was a genius, for there's a thin line between genius and madness...

    I've recognised there is a Red Baron/Dick Dastardly side to his character, but his genius often made me overlook his nasty side. But now... the genius is long gone, which only leaves the madness.

    What Michael Schumacher did today was disgusting. It's clear - as already pointed out - he effectively drove Barrichello off the track, and just cms from the wall. I've always liked Barrichello (he reminds me of Fozzie Bear...), and can imagine that incident would have left him severely shaken.

    Until Schumacher is made to understand why his awful driving is unacceptable, and he makes a genuine apology, he shouldn't be allowed to race. He's the worst kind of dangerous driver, one who believes he is infallible.

    I hope Ross Brawn - another hugely admirable man - makes some kind of statement that Schumacher has been chastised, and certainly does not defend Schumacher, otherwise he too will be tarred with Schmuacher's odious brush of dishonour.

  • Comment number 46.

    Looking at Michael Schumachers past and now present record of driving without any sense of fairness or safety I honestly believe that this time he should be told enough is enough, any more epsiodes like this one and you lose your Superlicence. He is apparently willing to kill someone to retain one point in the hopeless season he is having and I just hope he doesnt manage to impart any of his "wisdom" to Rosberg who is having an excellent and blame-free year.

    Barrichello asked the public to Twitter on this topic. Well, I cant Twitter Ruebens but this is my view and I hope it shows you have support!

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    if sebastia was told to hold them up, he should get a job as an actor, as he did act and behave like he didnt have a clue and was very angry at the penalty. how would the team tell him over a broken radio, hold them up for 9 car lengths as ten will get you a penalty?

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    @33
    Your reply to my previous post, your right we are in 2010 and thats why you can 5-6 drivers so close to each other in the Championship yet outside of the hardcore formula one fans other people find the sport boring. As I said it previously compare it to the eighties and you will see why people call it boring now.

  • Comment number 51.

    What schumacher did was wrong and as many have said he over-stepped the line.
    But he didnt change lines he was always moving that way...He did leave enough room (although only just)
    The tribute to Senna last week on top gear Brundle commented on how Senna pushed you to the edge and let you make your own decision....Senna himself even said the day i am scared to put my car in a gap is the day im not a racing driver...think back to 1988 when Senna very nearly put Prost into the pitwall

    Perhaps this is why Senna and Schumacher went on to be great champions unlike other less ruthless drivers?!

  • Comment number 52.

    I personally think that the Schumacher/Barrichello incident has been overblown. This is, after all, 'Motor Racing'. These two have old scores to settle. 'Vendedda' is an Italian word. They both played 'brinkmanship' with their own lives today because, and whilst Michael squeezed Rubens into the wall, Rubans, for his part, could have backed out from what was becoming an increasingly dangerous squeeze. Who blinks first? It takes two hand to clap! Rubens was incredibly brave today in steeling through to overtake. Michael, for his part, immediately backed out of the incident when it became clear that their 'duel' was veering out into a dangerous situation. I don't think anyone can accuse Michael of not 'setting-out his stall' whilst Rubens was still able to back out from the incident.

    In context both Michael and Rubens are proud parents and yet they now find themselves content to scrap over 10th place with a bunch of youngsters most of whom are little more than half their age! Who are they trying to kid and what are they currently seeking to achieve? They both have more experience than an Alex Wurz or a David Coulthard and so 'penalties' and 'approbation' from their 'peers' in the sport is not going to teach them anything. They obviously both still relish their active participation in F1 and yet, and when 'the boredom' sets-in, one wonders whether all they now have left for themselves as a fresh F1 experience is to shade the danger-line in terms of going out in a big bang in the style of a Jim Clark or maybe that of Ayrton Senna?

  • Comment number 53.

    The errant wheel from Rosberg's car could have easily have killed somebody or knocked them clean out with it bouncing around like that. Probably a 50,000 dollar fine is the maximum for that offence, but that was really dangerous. Maybe just as bad, or worse, than Schumacher on Barrichello. Didn't the stewards give that to Renault in Hungary '09? Pretty ironic that there's been two flying wheel offences in two consecutive Hungarian GP's.

    I really admire Barrichello, and that was before this race. He's been one of my favourite drivers for a while now and although I'm a Mclaren fan (especially with their current drivers) I always look to see how Rubens is doing. My dad and I were willing him on to pass Schumacher and when he finally made the pass we were kind of in shock in how bad Schumacher defended. Did anyone see a little celebration from Rubinho in the cockpit? He still has the passion, the fight, and the pace, and he'll soon be notching up his 300th grand prix. I might even buy his cap. I'm not sure if it would have left him severely shaken, maybe even more severely angry at Schumi! A few more incidents like that, and I think he's going to have to live with a race ban or something.

  • Comment number 54.

    @45

    I more or less agree with all you say, but to be truly fair and objective the Spa '98 accident is totally DC's fault, as he himself at times has the guts to acknowledge: MS had been behind him for almost the whole lap, so DC knew perfectly well where the Ferrari was when he decided to lift off in the apex of a very fast corner, which had also been rendered a blind one by the water sprays. DC admitted it a few years later and I am sure there is some record of it on the BBc website too.

  • Comment number 55.

    @Comment#49, oh my word. Even though everyone is entitled to their opinion, that is one of the most ridiculous opinions I have ever seen.

    Other drivers moan like that. Button did it all weekend.

  • Comment number 56.

    How on Earth can Martin Brundle have a go at Schumacher when last week on top gear he was praising the hell out of Senna for doing the same thing. Total hypocrite.

  • Comment number 57.

    @50

    I did watch it in the eighties and the same people who call it boring now, did it then too, as they couldn't find anything attractive in a number of cars going around in circles for hours on end.

    I don't think F1 has such a reduced fan base nowadays in comparison to the 80's and you cannot also compare the machinery: those people raced in a certain way because those cars allowed you to do so. In fact, that was the only thing you could do. It would not work with these cars. Schumacher knows it all to well, an even greater reason not to justify him this time.

  • Comment number 58.

    I hope that over the years they can learn from mistakes of dangerous driving tactics. As somebody stated earlier that Schumi used to complain about safety.

    What Senna did years ago was very very aggressive & unsafe & i thought the sport was meant to be safer.

    I would have fined Schumi £££ and a one race ban also.

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one disagreeing with the commentators and pundits who've spent the afternoon telling us how much today's race was a belter! I can only remember three genuine overtaking moves in the whole race after the first lap - Lewis regaining fifth from Petrov on lap 2, Button & Kobayashi stealing past Liuzzi when the Italian ran wide shortly after, and Rubens on Michael on lap 66. The safety car obviously livened things up a bit, but are we seriously going to call a race with virtually no overtaking, a race where a car 1.2 seconds a lap quicker than the car in front can't even make one attempt at a pass in 38 laps stuck behind his opponent, a "humdinger"? Interesting at times, yes, but by no means a classic.

    As for Andrew's comment that Vettel "backing up the field to allow Webber to break clear was exactly what Red Bull needed [him] to do to make their split strategy work", I'm not sure that's true, and if anything does a disservice to Webber. Even if you assume that Vettel slowed Alonso's pace slightly for the first few laps after the safety car went in, if you look at the gap Mark had to Alonso by the time Vettel's primes switched on and compare it with the gap he had to Alonso after his pit stop, he would have had enough time in his pocket as it was without any assistance from Seb.

    Either way, the Red Bulls were immense all weekend, and you've got to take your hat off the Webber for that stint before his stop. I hate to say it, but it reminded me of when Michael was at his peak and he could just pump out ten or fifteen qualifying laps in a row when he had to. Hugely impressive, and no matter where your loyalties lie, with more wins this season that anyone else, you'd have to say at this stage of the season a deserving championship leader.

  • Comment number 60.

    @56 Senna put his car in the way of the attacker, where as today Schumacher put the attacker into the wall.

    Also, the way Schumi said 'There are driver opinions and then there is Rubens' (or something along those lines) was extremely rude and not needed at all. He needs to admit that he made a mistake in defending sometime soon.

  • Comment number 61.

    In response to those who are trying to quote Martin Brundle, you seem to be missing a point here.
    He was saying that when Senna wanted to overtake someone, he would put his car in a position where the other person had to react or crash.
    Schumacher has also done this without critiscm. What he did today and other times is try to stop someone overtaking him. There is a difference, even if it is too subtle for some to grasp.

  • Comment number 62.

    anyone else think that Mark Webber bears more than a passing likeness to Wolverine in that podium shot? maybe just me though...

  • Comment number 63.

    @ Comment 61

    I agree with you 100%

  • Comment number 64.

    @57
    So did you hear people in the eighties moan about someone weaving in front of them.

    @61
    I think you will find that stopping someone overtaking you is also known as defending your position. If he was out to totally stop him at all costs Rubens would have been in the wall.

  • Comment number 65.

    @64

    You are contradicting yourself. That's the point: he was NOT waving in front of anyone. He kept pushing Barrichello against the wall when RB was already alongside him. There's a substantial and huge difference there. It baffles me that as someone who has watched F1 for so long you can still justify such a move. RB was mere inches from the wall, and I am sure that if nothing more serious happened it was not because of Schumacher's calculations but out of sheer luck.

  • Comment number 66.

    @61 what senna did to prost was the same as schumacher on rubens!

  • Comment number 67.

    oh lay off the Schumacher bashing!! Do you really think he cares that people are slating him for it?? Schumi has always taken risks and has also been on recieving end of some too, only time he ever complained was when DC took him out in spa 98!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Vettel will never win the championship unless it is gifted him by others. He is fast but loses concentration easily, can be pressured into mistakes, and is inconsistent. A good driver, no one can doubt that, but championship material, NO. He would make a half decent number two though.

    Webber has all the characteristics required to challenge for the title, he has the mental capacity to think a race through, the stamina to see it home, patience enough to bide his time, and the raw speed to leave the competition in his wake. Oh, he also has a good car and team behind him, always useful.


    Schumacher has got away with his dangerous driving yet again. I know he has a 10 place grid drop for Spa but surely something a little more telling was needed. Rubens got away without injury or accident but if the manouver had occured 10 meters further back a serious smash would have probably finished his career. As would another car exiting the pits. Schumacher knew what he was doing and it's not the first time.

    "Clown of the Day", candidates have to be

    1) Schumacher for his move on Rubens
    2) Kubica's lollipop man for lifting early
    3) Rosbergs gun man for not fixing the nut on correctly. (I assume he tried)
    4) Vettel for sleeping in the cockpit

  • Comment number 69.

    @65
    I may have confused you by not making it clear that I am not talking about today’s incident specifically I am talking about Formula One in general for the last 5-10 years, look at how Button was moaning last year about Kobyashi weaving and also about Schumacher’s defending in Barcelona, look at how Lewis got warned for weaving earlier this year. What’s all this nonsense about making one block and that’s it, why cannot you make as many blocks as possible, I remember the great Senna in a McLaren defending against Prost in a faster Williams in the early nineties, weaving all the way through defending his position, getting overtaken then retaking on the next corner. When do we ever see that nowadays, one slide on the tyres these days and that’s it you’re done for the rest of the race.

  • Comment number 70.

    Thank you Timmy-worksop!

    To Sportsfanreading depends on which Senna and Prost incident you are talking about!

  • Comment number 71.

    I guess Schumacher really is The Stig! Still not happy about RB's Top Gear lap

  • Comment number 72.

    In the fastest car on the track Mark Webber performed faultlessly.
    Fernando Alonso demonstrated, with his superb start and holding back Sebastian Vettel for so many laps, although being in a slower car, why he's a double world champion.
    Vettel in the other fastest car on the track and pole position showed that he's an experienced driver now but not a mature -thinking one. He threw it away.
    Also, a very interesting performance from Petrov to please Renault supporters.

    A boring race? Well if you are a Hamilton/ Alguersuari/Rosberg fan then I suppose you might have lost interest at some point but for the rest of us it was full of incident and the odd gasp!


  • Comment number 73.

    @ 71's Comment.

    Omg that was funny lol. Nice One !

  • Comment number 74.

    Poor Red Bull... only first and third! Hard life, isn't it?

  • Comment number 75.

    @69
    Fair enough, in which case I can see your point. Those cars did not suffer aerodinamically as much as these ones do, though, and that makes a lot of difference. I too recall that race at Silverstone between Senna and Prost first and then Senna and Schumacher. I doubt it would be possible to get even near to that kind of racing with the current configurations. It's a different kind of racing and I agree with you when you say that some drivers got a bit pampered and complain too much when someone is just defending his position. Having said that, a line must be clearly drawn and firmly implemented between a legitimate albeit robust defense, and being outright dangerous. With that, I am sure you must agree too.

  • Comment number 76.

    54. At 8:16pm on 01 Aug 2010, lucabiason wrote:
    @45

    I more or less agree with all you say, but to be truly fair and objective the Spa '98 accident is totally DC's fault, as he himself at times has the guts to acknowledge: MS had been behind him for almost the whole lap, so DC knew perfectly well where the Ferrari was when he decided to lift off in the apex of a very fast corner, which had also been rendered a blind one by the water sprays. DC admitted it a few years later and I am sure there is some record of it on the BBc website too.


    I qould just like to point out that during a Monaco race some years ago Mansell followed Senna for lap after lap with Senna lifting on straights and accellerating into corners. The interviews afterwards saw Senna admit it and Mansell admiringly point it out to the interviewer. A great race, no accident and mutual admiration, Mansell for Senna using unusual tactics to keep him behind, whilst Senna appreciated the skills shown by Mansell for noticing the tactic and not hitting him.

    A tactic that can be used safely. That said trying it in the rain has to be more risky.

  • Comment number 77.

    @75
    Yes I agree, so I guess we have found points we both agree on.

  • Comment number 78.

    @76

    Well I don't think you can truly compare the two...by no means. Senna was fighting with Mansell for 1st position and not lapping him, to start with. DC was being lapped.

    Senna was lifting off in the very short straightlines within the slow section of Monaco, to then pull away from Mansell and not allow him to enter/exit a corner faster than he did, he did not lift off all of a sudden in the apex of a fast corner, which under the '98 circumstances was the most unlikely of places and dangerous.

  • Comment number 79.

    Two issues, neither is with the article..

    The pit lane incidents, they should return to no stops under safety car. With no refuelling, there is (or should be) no need to pit under safety car, and having almost every car dive into the pits as we saw today is simply asking for something to happen.

    The Schumi/Barrichello incident, again, this is entirely about safety. It's nice to see something of the old Schumi back, but I can see why this was "crossing the line". That said, I don't see Schumi lasting long in the sport..

  • Comment number 80.

    @77

    Yup, looks like it! ;)

  • Comment number 81.

    Can't believe anyone thinks this season is boring!
    Well done again to Red Bull - the RB6 is amazing. Still can't decide if the 'sleeping' behind the safety car was genuine but I can't see Vettel gifting his team mate any favours now or in the future.
    Shame on Schumi. I want to see hard racing but that was out of order.
    Go Webber! Oi oi oi :)

  • Comment number 82.

    Vettel's is clearly a very talented driver. If he sorted out his temperament he might a) get better results and b) be less disliked.

  • Comment number 83.

    Senna did put his car in a position to let the other driver decide whether to crash or not. However, his driving was still extremely dangerous as was shown by his move on Martin Brundle in F3. He nearly landed on top of Brundle's head! Dangerous driving is dangerous driving irrespective of intention or subtleties.

  • Comment number 84.

    I appreciate there may be no appetite to revisit last weekend's debate but I abhor Andrew's "like it or not" statement about Alonso-Massa. It seems to excuse last weekend's manipulation on the basis that Alonso was quicker this weekend. It doesn't change the fact Massa should have won last weekend. Maybe McLaren should have asked Button to let Hamilton through in their 1-2 in Australia on the basis that Hamilton was "obviously" faster and more likely to win the title. Bull****! This is racing!

  • Comment number 85.

    ahem....

    What, exactly, was the safety car doing? Why was there absolutely no mention of WHY there was a safety car... at all?

  • Comment number 86.

    Schumacher is like your old embarrassing uncle at a wedding dance. Completely past it but still thinks he's 21 and completely oblivious to the fact he's making a complete fool of himself.

    Except he's a dangerous menace. If Mercedes had any sense they would retire him before he kills himself or some other unfortunate soul.

  • Comment number 87.

    jamiewatford you say that vettel isn't good, this is the man who managed to take pole and win a race in the wet at monza in a toro rosso

  • Comment number 88.

    The FiA should Actually ban drivers from going over the white line on to the pit lane. if there had been a care coming down the pit lane or even the safety car, i hate to think what would have happened! Schumi can't be blamed for defending his position. The FiA made it possible for rubin to go off road.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm really bemused by so many of the comments on here. Of course the Schumacher/Barrichello incident was a flash point of the race, but as a minority of posters on here have pointed it, things are going a bit over the top. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see that kind of thing in racing, but it's not the exactly unheard of. As other people have pointed out, the now infallible legend of Senna literally crashed into competitors and took them both out. This man is now considered a legend (and rightly so), so what's the problem with someone else pulling questionable moves?

    Secondly, there's a lot of people bashing Schumacher's performance who claim to be astute F1 fans. Yes Rosberg has done a little better than him this year, but not by a lot. A fair percentage of Schumacher's performance issues are down to the car. It you put him in the Red Bull car he'd have put together more race wins than Vettel without doubt.

    What I'd really like to say though is hats off to Kobayashi and Petrov, those two put in the drives of the day. I can't help but feel that Kobayashi especially is quite an underrated driver. Speaking of Kobs, he was moaned at for "weaving" last season. I agree with those other posters - let people defend their position. One move and that's it my butt!

  • Comment number 90.

    I have to agree with the first poster. Vettel, whilst very quick, seeks to blame everybody any anything other than himself. He is doubtless a talented driver, but is pretty much the atipathy of Schumacher, e.g. not a machine.

    And here it comes, you can really see the Schumacher effect coming to the fore again. Last week most people were outragted at team orders, (except Schumacher, who thinks they're a rather good invention (if you're top dog)) now two-thirds of the field want to them to be allowed again!

    This weekend it's dangerous driving, those evil and disgusting moves were things of the Schumacher era, where Ecclestone decreed that the man was not to be punished.
    Then, finally, so many of the young drivers had had enough that MS was forced out; only to come back!!!
    That move on Baricello was text book Schumacher, at least 4 of his world titles were won in such a fashion, ask Damon Hill or Jaques Villeneuve.

    Why did he come back? Why, why why!!!

    Has anybody else noticed, Vettel tries to do the same. Last week he spent so long weaving across the track to block Alonso that he left the door wide wide open. OK, it wasn't at 180 mph, but neither was it fair. You must decide on a line and stick to it, not just weave around on the track until you've frightened your opponents into not passing because otherwise they'll be forced into the wall!

    The rather dubious attempt to pass Webber (two weeks ago) was a case in point, pathetic, he'd like to be Schumi, he just ain't got what it takes. But there, maybe that speaks for him, that he's not such a cold blooded, couldn't-care-less driver. I certainly prefer someone like that than Schumacher any day of the week.

  • Comment number 91.

    Dear BBC, I'd love this bloke's job, fancy taking me on. I must be able to come up with something better than this blog. Regards.... peeps

  • Comment number 92.

    After the first five or so races, i saw Vettel as the best. Button had (as much as it saddens me to admit it) fluked his two wins, and Vettel had been struck with bad luck. engine/gearbox/brakes etc. At all the points where he retired he was on course for big points. So i thought, bad luck wont last 20 races and he will come out as the best.
    But he really hasn't seized the opportunity. He seems so reminiscant of Hamilton in his maiden year, too concerned with defending and forgetting to look forward.

    I'm starting to think how Vettel really isn't that amazing. He can set fastest laps, and win qualifying, but he can't overtake, or win races unless he starts 1st. The testing point today was when he cruised up to Alonso. The Ferrari was very fast, but as you could see, Mark Webber was ridiculously faster than Alonso. Vettel had how many laps to overtake, 35? 40? Sure, you can argue its hard to overtake, and Webber didnt manage it. But it was clear Webber was in fuel saving mode, waiting to pounce, then the safety car helped him out.

    End of the day, Vettel isn't able to seize the moment. Any true champion would have hustled Alonso with the superior car for 35+ laps and either got past him with his absolute aerodynamic advantage, or hustled him into making a mistake - think of Button at Abu Dhabi on Webber.

    Webber thrives under negativity, and deserves better from the team. He deserves where he is today. Hopefully RedBull will realise encouragement with Webber will give them a winning package.

    I would expect to see Button sliding out of contention over the remaining 7 races. I can only see Hamilton winning races for Mclaren now. Button appears to have faded as he did last year.

    Alonso is clearly making the surge of his life. They have a stunning car and clearly the money to make an amazing car. If Vettel and Webber keep taking points off each other, Alonso could just sweep clean past them and win the championship. But he does have engine problems which we know can play a part in the last races. And i still believe that it could be irrelevant if RedBull manage to back Webber.

    It would be interesting to see an analysis on the remaining 7 tracks and what cars are suited best to provide us with an estimate of how the championship will look at the end of November.

  • Comment number 93.

    @87

    Yes, Vettel won in the wet in Monza.

    Since then he has been pretty average in a very good car and this season in particular has been utterly outclassed by his team-mate.

    I think Vettel is good, but he is by no means great and neither will he be until he has a major attitude shift. As I said, I believe there are two greats out there now; Hamilton and Alonso. They seem to find something where other fail, one is a superb all-round driver, the other is a gutsy, overtaking racer. Out of the rest of the pack Webber stands out as one who has paid his dues and has learned his craft.

    If Vettel was to be a great driver he would have seized the opportunity he has, regardless of the luck that does or does not come his way. As it stands he has been quick to blame when he has underperformed and squandered almost every pole he has had. He's not great, he's average.

  • Comment number 94.

    Schumacher deserved a race ban for that move: he deliberately left the gap open for Rubens to take before shutting it - he was not making a single change of racing line. It was erratic, unsportsmanlike and downright dangerous. Obviously I am glad that no crash occurred, but a part of me wishes there had been one, so that the outcome represented just how bad the situation really was. Rubens would have been seriously injured and I would hope Schumacher was banned for life from F1. What we all saw was not sport, it was not racing - it was simply horrifying.

  • Comment number 95.

    What is the difference between Vettel's move on Alonso at the start in Germany and Schumacher's move on Barrichello?

    Both moves look very similar, one was punished and the other wasn't, why? My guess is that FIA decided that todays move was more dangerous due to the speed. I'm not sure if that is true. If Vettel and Alonso had crashed they had 24 other cars just behind them and it would had been mayhem.

    Perhaps this is not the case, but I do think that the stewards not only look at what, where and how happened but WHO was involved. Some people seem to get away with no penalty or small ones, and others seem to get all the stick.

    I have a question, are all penalties stipulated and regulated or do they pull them out of a hat?

    Thank you

  • Comment number 96.

    @85 - there was a piece of front wing or something on the track.

    @92 - the most sensible post of the day. And out of interest, the Ferraris seem to have an advantage in Spa, Monza, Singapore and Brazil, so in theory, Alonso should be there or therabouts by the time we reach Abu Dhabi, but the way this season is going I wouldn't put my pennies on any race outcomes!!!

    Vettel was doing what many drivers have done this season, he behaved like an F1 driver with things not going his way, it's just what they do and let them sulk or whine or complain, it adds to the spice of a very scintillating season!!

    Congratulations to Webbo, I'm not a fan of his but the way he has been seemingly treated by RB makes his astounding victory today all the more sweeter, and kudos to Alonso for finishing ahead of Vettel and 10 seconds ahead of Massa. I'm not particularly sentimental so seeing the best driver finish ahead of the inferior driver at Ferrari was just and right, regardless of team orders.

  • Comment number 97.

    @65: Senna did it to Prost but Prost had also done the same to Senna the year before (1988, Japan). It was payback for Senna. Both had a problem with each other, hence why Prost had a clause on his contract with Williams that stopped them from hiring Senna in 1992 and 1993 even though Senna had offered to drive for them for free.

    And despite Senna's fierce driving, he didn't have a history of throwing people into walls!

  • Comment number 98.

    As for Schumacher, well, a 10 place grid penalty was harsh to say the least. If Senna can be applauded for announcing he was going to take others off the track and doing it, then how can we be so hypocritical of drivers taking every opportunity they have, naughty or not, to ensure they finish ahead? Schumi was out of order and made a dangerous move today, but Vettel did the exact same thing last week on Alonso and no-one has batted an eyelid at that..............

  • Comment number 99.

    Of course Schumacher knew he was behaving dangerously - he's not thick! He said in his post-race interview "I knew he (Barrichello) was coming...there was space enough". Well, they're both lucky to face another day: Martin Brundle said they were going at around 140 MPH - imagine what might have happened if the concrete wall had extended any further and they had collided - what would Schumacher had said happened then (in heaven?). It's great to see a real sportsman like Mark Webber winning. Much as I admire Vettel he has to learn to stop whining - he said he didn't know the safety-car rules. How come the rest of the the viewing world know the rules and he doesn't - is he that new to f1?

  • Comment number 100.

    @97
    What does that have to do with my comment @65?

 

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