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Alonso gives Red Bull pause for thought

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Andrew Benson | 17:04 UK time, Sunday, 8 May 2011

The 2011 Formula 1 season is not yet a quarter done but it is already difficult to see past Sebastian Vettel ending a second consecutive season as the world champion.

A third victory in four races has given the Red Bull driver a 34-point lead in the standings and the man in second place, Lewis Hamilton, could finish only fourth in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix.

There is no doubt that the German is now in total control of this season. The word "domination" is being bandied around and it is easy to see why but, in each of the four races so far, the performance gap between Vettel and his pursuers has not been as great as the stark results suggest.

Just as in his wins in Australia and Malaysia, Vettel's afternoon at Istanbul Park was made easier by delays suffered by his rivals.

This time, Nico Rosberg, who started third on the grid behind Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber, was the man responsible for allowing his fellow German to make a break. That ensured he could ease into cruise control as early as lap five, when Webber was finally able to pass the fast-starting Mercedes.

The key to all of Vettel's victories has been his searing pace in qualifying. Turkey was his fourth pole position in a row this season - his seventh in the last eight races if you count the end of last year - and it was one of his most impressive so far.

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Vettel had no dry running on Friday following a hefty crash caused by pushing too hard on intermediate tyres at Turn Eight in the wet conditions on Friday morning. Yet the following day he put his car on pole by nearly half a second from Webber.

Even in the wild and whacky races of 2011, pole position is proving a vital weapon for Vettel. It is allowing him to steer clear of the craziness behind him, and allowing him to run at his own pace, putting him in control of races from very early on.

Would Webber or Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished second and third, have been able to challenge him on Sunday had it not been for Rosberg? Neither man sounded very confident of that after the race.

Webber said it would have been "difficult to beat Sebastian today", while Alonso - the race's big surprise - described Vettel as a "99% favourite".

However, Alonso added that "this 1% (is what) we had lost in the first five laps with Nico because more or less the seven seconds distance to Sebastian was consistent all through the race. Without those five seconds, maybe we could have raced in the pit stop and forced something".

And that's the point. Vettel, as he said himself, is not unbeatable. But his life is being made easier by the frenetic battle behind him, which he is surveying from above for now.

Heading into the Turkey race, few would have predicted that it would be Alonso taking the fight to the Red Bulls - and certainly not the man himself.

The Spaniard arrived in Istanbul talking about Ferrari having taken a "small step". But new front and rear wings and brake ducts added up to a lot more than that.

Alonso has qualified fifth for all four races so far this season, but he and Ferrari reduced their deficit to Vettel from 1.4secs in China three weeks ago to 0.8secs in Turkey. And in the race he went toe-to-toe with Webber and very nearly came out on top.

Alonso drove a superb race, taking advantage of Hamilton's lap one error to slip into fourth place, following Webber past Rosberg and then slugging it out with the Red Bulls for the rest of the afternoon.

He was, then, the deserved winner of our new BBC F1 driver of the day vote, in which he took 18.5% of the support, just ahead of Vettel (17.9%) and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, who fought from the back of the grid to 10th place (17.2%).

It was a remarkable turnaround by Ferrari and there is more to come from them after some soul-searching and intense analysis at Maranello following their disappointing start to the season.

It immediately revived memories of last year. Leaving the British Grand Prix last July, nearly two clear wins off the championship lead on points, Alonso famously declared that he was more confident than ever that he could win the championship. And had it not been for some bungled Ferrari strategy in the final race of the season, he would have done.

Alonso might be 52 points - more than two wins - behind Vettel right now, but he has 15 races, or possibly 16 depending on what happens to Bahrain, to recover it and it would be a fool who wrote off now such a formidable fighter. After last year's experience, Red Bull certainly won't be making that mistake.

"Ferrari," said team principal Christian Horner, "they're back. They pushed us very hard today with Fernando."

Alonso felt confident enough after his third place in Turkey to talk about winning races. For now, though, the only person to do so this year apart from Vettel is Hamilton, for whose McLaren team Sunday was a chastening experience after their driver's breathtaking win in China.

That error on the first lap, running wide at Turn Four challenging Webber, put him on the back foot and a fumbled pit stop, caused by a sticking wheel nut, dropped him down still further. In typical style, Hamilton stuck with the task and he fought back to finish fourth.

Jenson Button was sixth after he and the team erroneously chose a three-stop strategy when four was the way to go.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh rightly described it as a "fairly average day at the office" but Hamilton talked about battling for second without his problems, and there is no reason to suppose McLaren have lost the ability they have showed in the first three races to keep pace with Red Bull.

The next phase of the season, then, promises to be fascinating, with Mercedes, too, in the mix - even if Rosberg's race pace did not match his superb qualifying performance.

For his team-mate, though, the future looks less bright. Sunday was another difficult day in Michael Schumacher's ill-starred comeback.

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Trounced by Rosberg in qualifying, when he was - just like for much of last year - guilty of over-driving, Schumacher had another poor race, wrecking any hopes of a recovery by completely misjudging his defence against Renault's Vitaly Petrov in the early laps and ripping off his own front wing.

"I don't know why he doesn't know when to give up," David Coulthard said in the commentary. "On the track or in his career?" replied Martin Brundle, sharp as ever.

BBC pundit Eddie Jordan's post-race analogy with an aging and punch-drunk Muhammad Ali when he fought Larry Holmes in 1980 was perhaps a touch harsh, but you could see where he was coming from.

Fascinatingly, Schumacher's mask slipped a little for the first time since making his comeback. He had always insisted that he was enjoying himself, and that the pace and touch would come back. On Sunday, though, he admitted "the big joy is not there right now".

I've known Schumacher for a long time, and he looked and sounded like a man beginning, as Coulthard put it, "to ask himself some questions".

Perhaps it was the immediate post-race emotion talking, perhaps not. But, not for the first time, many in F1 will be asking whether his second career will last the three years for which he signed up.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Great first 30 odd laps this week. Nice to see Lewis & Jenson at each other's throats.

    Did anyone else notice that when Vettel was lapping D'Ambrosio (approx 10-15 laps before the end) his DRS was activated? Is it permitted for DRS to be used while lapping slower cars?

  • Comment number 2.

    An easy win for Vettel, albeit harder than he made it seem. He is absolutely on fire, and looks the best driver in the world, bar none.

    And yes, if you are within 1 second of any car, lapping or not, you can activate your DRS.

  • Comment number 3.

    Andrew, can you confirm that before blaming the strategy - Jenson's main reason for this bad performance was the fact that his laptimes throughout all his stints just simply were'nt good enough?

  • Comment number 4.

    As a huge Michael Schumacher fan it is sad to see him struggle, but I hope he stays for the rest of the season and has a few decent races. I dont think he will be remembered for his come back - more as the 7 times World Champion who was the best driver of his time.

    And what a great race Today , Great drives from the Top 3 Drivers!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Alonso was poor today. His pace was mediocre and his 3rd is not good enough as he was 2nd ahead of Webber for most of the race.

    He needs to get his act together if he wants to win the title,let alone a grand prix this season.

  • Comment number 6.

    Before you start saying how Vettel's got it all sorted, remember the slump in form Jenson had when he won his world title - sorted for the first 6 races, then struggled for the majority of the rest of the season ...

    That said, was I alone in being disappointed by the Turkish GP. For all the overtaking and pit stops, the race never really "clicked" as exciting. Could it be because Vettel just waltzed off to the race lead?

    Also, Andrew: what input do you have to the TV direction of the race (whoever the host broadcaster is)? This weekend, it was abysmal with many overtaking/close contact moments simply being missed. The director wasn't up to it: is that part of FOM or the Turkish broadcaster's job?

  • Comment number 7.

    #1 Willmau

    Brundle confirmed on the forum after reading tweets on his feed that it is permitted to use DRS against lapped cars.

    I enjoyed the race. Some of the DRS overtakes did look pretty artificial however. I believe that you should stop using DRS as soon as you are alongside the car you are trying to overtake. Probably difficult to officiate, but it's an idea?

    I don't like Vettel waltzing into the distance, but at least we have some great racing behind him (namely the Mclaren boys).

    At least Vettel seems like a nice down to earth kid.

    Roll on Spain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Agree with 6 @ Jordan D, Vettel has not got the title sorted yet at all, was just wondering whether the word "dominance" was used and the excitement of F1 was questioned when Button waltzed off for the first seven races in '09?
    Personally, I thought it was a good race today and disagree with those who argue that overtaking is cheapened by DRS and Kers - I'd rather see actual changes in the race from the grid positions rather than no overtaking at all. Also, note the amount of overtaking outside of the DRS zone e.g. Hamilton and Button

  • Comment number 9.

    @fernandoflatspots Are you taking the weewee? It's not the driver who is slow my friend, it's the car............

  • Comment number 10.

    i may be wrong but Vettel seems to be the new Shumacher and that means that the race for the lead is boring because you can predict who is going to win. Although i really enjoyed the overtaking and the Jenson and Lewis battle it was annoying to see Vettel getting another victory and i would rather Mark win rather than being constantly beaten by his team mate after all it was his setup. This means that it is getting to much like Rubens and Shumacher at Ferrari in previous years.

  • Comment number 11.

    Anyone know what happened to Rubens? I saw he had a tangle with Schumi, but did he spin or not? He must have to drop to 15th.

  • Comment number 12.

    Again, a superb race, excellent commentary, and at last Alonso back on the podium after 6 races. Wolves beat the Baggies. Nadal back on serve. A good day so far!!

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm very happy with the season so far. Enjoyed seeing Vettel dominate (he has) so far and am adamant that it will continue. A year on from his WDC he has matured, added new tricks to his arsenal and shown the world that along with blistering pace over one lap, he is the man to beat over the full course of a race. His tyre management has been an added bonus, in that he can treat them better than Webber, something I didn't expect at all. Yes the RB7 is incredibly quick (and better, even more reliable than the RB5 or RB6) but is the man behind the wheel that counts. Webber has to believe taht he is a 'wing man' this season. Even he has no chance to overhaul Vettel this season, but somehow I feel Hamilton & Alonso will have something to say about this.

    On a side note, I think Button's effectiveness has been negated due to the fact tyres wear out due to mileage, not driving style, and in Turkey, he seemed very ineffective.

    Overall, extremely impressed with Vettel, as I have been since he started. I just hope that if he falls into trouble in a race due to tyre management, that his overtaking ability won't be brought into question. If he can improve on this, he will be the most complete driver since Hakkinen.

  • Comment number 14.

    @ 9 Nadaliator.

    Look at the FACTs

    He was ahead of Webber for most of the race and he should have actually caught Vettel and won but he couldnt because of his poor driving style.

    Accept the fact that Hamilton and Vettel are in a different class.

  • Comment number 15.

    A fairly dull race in the end, not least because it was yet another easy and unchallenged flag to flag victory for Sebastian Vettel in an Adrian Newey designed car far ahead of the rest of the field.

    And as a reminder for this thread, Vettel has now had to overtake just three cars in just two manouevers to win 13 races. LOL! Granted, he is quick over one lap in the fastest car but I'm quickly losing interest in the thought of a processional championship dominated by a guy - Vettel - who has so far shown that he cannot win from the chasing pack.

    Of course most F1 Champions win many of their races flag to flag but there is something irritating about watching a guy who cannot overtake his rivals cleanly, take flag to flag victories mainly because of the car he drives.

    Alonso performed admirably today but the fact he was overtaken by Mark Webber in the other Red Bull still shows you the dominance afforded to Red Bull by the brilliant Adrian Newey.

    I'll give this season another three races but if Vettel finishes 1st or 2nd in all of them then that's it for me for this season. It will be back to the dreadful days of Schumacher dominance - although in his fellow countryman's defence, Schumacher - unlike Vettel - had proved himself a great all round driver by the time he won 14 of 18 races in 2004.

  • Comment number 16.

    @fernandoflatspots Fact: Webber had a fresh set of options at the end of the race, hence the ability to overtake Alonso. Fact: The RBRs are so much faster than the Ferraris, so how could Alonso overtake a faster car despite superior driving skills?

    If you hate Alonso fine, but don't doubt his ability, that's just ignorant.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm a long-time Schumacher fan, but it was sad to see how his performance just fell apart this weekend. On Saturday morning he was right on the pace (although Vettel would have had probably half a second on him without traffic on his last lap), but then in quali and the race he was just nowhere.

    Interesting to hear him take the blame for the Petrov incident, and the "big joy" comment too. He needs to have a weekend come together...that said, last year he usually responded to what Martin would call "shockers" with a good showing next time out...

    @Jordan D #6

    Great points all round, though it should be noted that Brawn were lacking money and resources to develop that car - once other teams nailed the DDD, and did their usual in-season development, they were easily clear in the second half of the season (RBR being the best example).

  • Comment number 18.

    Argh, the Vettel fanboys are already here with their "Vettel best in the world" nonsense!

    It's funny how these Vettel fanboys don't dwell on the advantage given to him by his Adrian Newey designed car. Afterall, on today's race alone we saw that Mark Webber - a good driver rather than a great one - was the second car home...in guess which car!?

    But no, for the uninformed, nouveau F1 fan Vettel is unquestionably the greatest driver in the world, far ahead of any other driver. (But just don't mention the car, ok!?) Anyway, I look forward to seeing Vettel walk on water come Monaco!

  • Comment number 19.

    @robbieo79 Mmmm, it stinks of 2007 doesn't it??!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    @ 18. At 18:43pm 8th May 2011, robbieo79 wrote:

    Argh, the Vettel fanboys are already here with their "Vettel best in the world" nonsense!

    It's funny how these Vettel fanboys don't dwell on the advantage given to him by his Adrian Newey designed car. Afterall, on today's race alone we saw that Mark Webber - a good driver rather than a great one - was the second car home...in guess which car!?

    ____________________________________________________________________

    How is what we say making us 'fanboys'? I openly undertstand that 70% of Red Bull's success derives from Newey's input. I have watched F1 since the start of the 90's and I have seen his Williams, McLaren and now Red Bull cars dominate. I know that he was the main reason for the success of the CAR but the DRIVER had to contribute too. Vettel + Newey designed RB5/RB6/RB7 = great DRIVER in a great CAR! Stop your putrid drivel about being a 'fanboy'. It makes you look stupid.

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    The point raised in comment #15 says it all really...until Vettel wins a race from 5th or 6th and overtakes at least 5 cars cleanly then I'm not convinced he's a complete driver yet. Temperament? Yes. Speed? Yes. In the fastest car? Yes. A proven overtaker? No.

  • Comment number 23.

    A word on Schumacher struggling as an older driver...

    It makes me appreciate all the more the likes of Mansell and Prost winning the F1 Championship in their late 30s. Mansell at 39, Prost at 38. Granted, both were a few years younger than Schumacher aged 41 at his return last season. And also they both drove Newey designed cars to Championship victory (take note of that acknowledgement, Vettel fanboys) but relatively they were far, far better than Schumacher has been as an "older driver."

  • Comment number 24.

    @pathetic fanboy

    He had a super fresh set of option tyres which were specailly desighned to last 30 laps and give lots of grip(Ferrari from Italy and Pirelli from Italy so they made agreement)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You're funny.

    That's why Torro Rosso did so well!!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    side note: calling people pathetic fanboys makes you look pathetic yourself.

  • Comment number 26.

    robbieo79, I think you are quite bitter. Why can't you let people enjoy their success? Supporting a DRIVER in a Newey designed CAR and being a fan of them, does not make you a flipping fanboy by saying they are the best. As the current WDC Vettel has to be seen in that light, especially considering his performance this year. Pull that stick out and come up with a better argument.

  • Comment number 27.

    Really odd thing just happened.

    I played the video of EJ talking about MS, and it sounded just like he said 'He's very, very honest...'

    The same MS who rammed Damon Hill, denied he did it on purpose, then years later admitted it? The same MS who parked his car on a bend in qualifying to stop anybody setting a time? Etc, etc...

    Nah, must be a problem with my sound card....

  • Comment number 28.

    20. At 18:47pm 8th May 2011, VettelManUtd90 wrote:

    How is what we say making us 'fanboys'? I openly undertstand that 70% of Red Bull's success derives from Newey's input. I have watched F1 since the start of the 90's and I have seen his Williams, McLaren and now Red Bull cars dominate. I know that he was the main reason for the success of the CAR but the DRIVER had to contribute too. Vettel + Newey designed RB5/RB6/RB7 = great DRIVER in a great CAR! Stop your putrid drivel about being a 'fanboy'. It makes you look stupid.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Well I didn't actually have you in mind when I wrote my post, but you insult away if it makes you feel better!

    I actually agree with all of your post (insult aside!) until you refer to Vettel as a "great driver." He patently hasn't demonstrated that he is at that level! A great driver has it all and Vettel, so far, has not shown that.

    See TJLM's post #22 for a neat, accurate summary why. I would add that Vettel is also very hit and miss in the rain. But according to the uniformed soundbites Vettel is "King of the Wet!" Honestly, I've never seen such a prematurely feted driver as Vettel in my 25 years of watching F1.

    Look, ultimately I've got no problem with Vettel winning a Championship flag to flag this season. But what really annoys me is this reactionary, over-the-top, nonsense that Vettel is suddenly this all time great, miles ahead of every other current driver blah blah blah.

    As the old adage in F1 goes: "You don't have to be a great driver to win F1 Championships, merely be in the right car at the right time." That line could have been written for Sebastian Vettel.

  • Comment number 29.

    #27

    I believe he was referring to the comment Schumi made about him 'not enjoying' F1 and admitting he was at fault in the Petrov incident.
    But yeah, it was a little weird. :P

  • Comment number 30.

    Nadaliator, I would not bother trying to explain to some Fernando Alonso´s skills as a driver.. waste of time frankly when reading their posts.. I don´t think they read the blog in the first place..

    Good blog Benson, as usual. I cannot wait for a Ferrari resurgence, hopefully if the problems with the wind tunnel have finally been sorted and the engineers can start matching tunnel with track data. Otherwise the problem would be of different stature and there may not be a chance this year to put it right and fight for WDC title like last year..

    Fernando drove a superb race. It was vintage Fernando all over again. He felt confident and able to challenge the RBR. Absolutely loved it!. His pace on the live timing were incredibly fast and was able to stick to the RBR for most the race.

    However, Ferrari not only must improve the car but the pit stops too!!. Fernando lost so much time compared to the RBR; nearly 6 seconds when you put all the pit stops of Vettel to Fernando´s. These would have been crucial for Alonso to push Vettel for P1.

    That added to the time behind Nico and Webber´s unused set of softs (saved from yesterday´s Q3) explained Alonso´s final P3.




  • Comment number 31.

    robbieo79, Apologies for that.

  • Comment number 32.

    #28.

    As I basically said in #22, Vettel is an amazing talent. Like EJ said, he still has flaws.

    I believe Vettel is called king of the wet as a reference to his drive in Italy in 2008, but he crashed in the wet on Friday and in 2007 he hit the back of Mark Webber's RBR while behind the safety car. What race was that, Fuji 2007?

  • Comment number 33.

    @regina Absolutely, and I agree with the rest of your post too!

  • Comment number 34.

    But at the end of the day, Vettel has the ability to surpass Shucmacher's record of 7 WDC's. He always wants the fastest laps, most wins & poles... He wants to leave his mark on F1 by transcending all current statistics. He is the future of F1, and I can see him taking Red Bull to many titles before he feels the pull of (a much improved) Mercedes or (Alonso-less) Ferrari is too much.

  • Comment number 35.

    26. At 18:55pm 8th May 2011, VettelManUtd90 wrote:
    robbieo79, I think you are quite bitter. Why can't you let people enjoy their success? Supporting a DRIVER in a Newey designed CAR and being a fan of them, does not make you a flipping fanboy by saying they are the best. As the current WDC Vettel has to be seen in that light, especially considering his performance this year. Pull that stick out and come up with a better argument.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    How can I make this easy for you to understand?

    The Newey desinged Red Bulls are a far bigger factor for their dominance than their drivers.

    Or in other words, do you think Vettel and Webber would have got the same race results this season in a McLaren, Ferrari or Mercedes? Because when it comes to Vettel, that is what some on here would have you believe.

    That is, Vettel - so far ahead of the rest of the drivers talent - could drive a pigging Hispania to victory! Don't believe me? There is a German poster on these boards who asked after Vettel won the Championship last season; "The main question to consider is how much sooner Vettel would have won the Championship if he had been driving a Ferrari or McLaren."

  • Comment number 36.

    Personally, I think we may find history tells us we are currently spoilt for choice, and Vettel and Hamilton may both go down as great drivers. And Alonso as a very good one. The test for me isn't just can they win races, but can they win races consistently when not in the best car, and significantly out-perform a quality team-mate to prove it.

    MS did that - for all much of his success WAS in the best car. Hamilton is starting to show maybe he can. Alonso arguably did that in a Renault, and may yet do it in a Ferrari, but maybe too often under-performs when things don't go his way to be a 'great' for me. The test for Vettel is can he do that - bar one win in a Torro Rosso? Time will tell.

    But would we be saying the Red Bull was easily the fastest car if only Mark Webber was driving it? It's only because Vettel is streets ahead of everyone else - including Mark - we come to that conclusion.

    No doubt I will now be called a 'triple fanboy' or something.

  • Comment number 37.

    I know I might be in the minority when I say that for me motor racing is about driver and machine competing against other drivers and machines. So why should a race be decided by who has the best TYRE strategy? To have a race decided on who can change a tyre fastest also when is the best time to change it and how many times to change it, is totally wrong.
    I applauded the decision to fuel once for the whole race, so why should it not be possible to have a tyre last for the whole race? Obviously the exception would be to have a tyre change for wet conditions.
    Some would say this would result in boring races but more than half the races are already boring. Many turn into high-speed processions with no overtaking what so ever. The solution would to be to remove the restrictions on technology. In other words, allow the constructors to develop and employ innovations.
    Message to the regulators....YOU ARE KILLING THE SPORT!.

  • Comment number 38.

    34. At 19:09pm 8th May 2011, VettelManUtd90 wrote:
    But at the end of the day, Vettel has the ability to surpass Shucmacher's record of 7 WDC's. He always wants the fastest laps, most wins & poles... He wants to leave his mark on F1 by transcending all current statistics. He is the future of F1, and I can see him taking Red Bull to many titles before he feels the pull of (a much improved) Mercedes or (Alonso-less) Ferrari is too much.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Argh! This is exactly the hyperbole about Vettel that drives me absolutely mad!!!

    In answer to your post - if I have to take it seriously - is so too do Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton "have the ability to surpass Schumacher's records in F1." Crucially, unlike Vettel they currently don't have the same advantage of an RB7!!!

    You talk as if only Vettel could even dream, or have the talent to acheive such a mark. It's utter madness! Swap Vettel with Alonso, or Vettel with Hamilton and the Spaniard and Englishman would be doing much the same as Vettel in the Red Bull this season. But unlike Vettel, I'd back Alonso and Hamilton to be able to win from behind in the RB7 if it was necessary.

    I cannot stand this complete and utter lack of balance when talking about Vettel! You youself said you think a Adrian Newey car is 70% of the battle...so how on earth can you elevate Vettel so highly in that remaining 30% criteria!?

    It's genuinely odd how people see Vettel dominate in the fastest car and come to these elaborate and simplified conclusions of Vettel = undisputed best, can challenge Schumacher's record.



  • Comment number 39.

    Can we split up Adrian Newey and give a quarter each to RBR, Mclaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes?

    Please?

  • Comment number 40.

    @telnolies

    Personally, I think we may find history tells us we are currently spoilt for choice, and Vettel and Hamilton may both go down as great drivers. And Alonso as a very good one

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You rate Hamilton and Vettel higher than Alonso???? The first two have had excellent cars very early in their careers, Alonso did not. You can't compare greatness based on those Hamilton or Vettel. Come back again in 5 years and then we'll see who is great.

    Doesn't anyone here realise just how horrible the F150 is?????

  • Comment number 41.

    Yay for the same debates every week.

  • Comment number 42.

    @F1nut Unfortunately if you want that kind of racing now you have to tune in to GP2. With Formula 1 it's about technology and money not driver skill. I kind of agree with you though

  • Comment number 43.

    I think its time for a British Touring Car series style change of grid positions - that would get the cat among the pigeons.

  • Comment number 44.

    Calm down, dears!

  • Comment number 45.

    The massive key to all three of Vettel's wins this year is the enormous gap he pulls out in the first two laps. Can anyone remember him having to defend his position at all when the cars are full of fuel and at their worst for handling, direction change and acceleration? This is no criticism of course and shows that for all the talk of DRS/KERS leveling the races up, if you stick in on the front of the grid and just ace everyone else before they can settle into a rhythm then you negate the potential threat of the DRS. Bar a poor strategy, clear with 20/20 hindsight, in China he'd have won the lot this year. Just for my tuppence worth as well, what a load of utter tosh about Alonso above. Great race by the guy and he'll be happy with 3rd just 8 seconds back from the lead after 180 odd miles of racing. He's had poor moments this season, most notably the Hamilton hit and his starts in general, but you'd have to be an utter fool to doubt his talent and commitment. The list of back to back champions is a list which represents the very best the sport has ever seen, not chumps who would 'flat spot their tyres at every corner'. The Pirelli conspiracy sounds interesting and plausible though, sorry, i mean insane and a load of b******s.

  • Comment number 46.

    Some help if possible:

    I've looked at the official F1 website and here - where did d'Ambrosio actually start on the grid? 23rd with an empty slot because of Glock's troubles?

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi guys

    I really enjoyed the race and even though i was disapointed with the result there was at least overtaking abilities. I do get annoyed by the way the pole sitter can always run away and never get in trouble. The way the season is shaping is making me think that the team with the fastest car will win, which makes me sad

    I am a hamilton fan and was feeling ok with his performance. He tried to get past webber and that ruined his race, BUT at least he tried. If you never try you will never know what would have happened. So my hat off to him.

    I think button has always complained about set up and this and that. When he first joined mclaren he said the car was designed around lewis, but know he has his own specification and he is doing just badly as usual! I think rosberg should replace him and he should head off to Ferrari, sorry to Button fans!

    To all you SCHUMACHER FANS i have this to say: i think even though he has had a tough time since his return, you should think of this after this weekend:
    he has helped develop this car to compete for championships, I mean look at what rosberg is managing to do with the car. Do not under estimate schumi, his experience may not show at the moment in the races but it will with the car and look how rosberg is showing it. I think it will take a twitch at siome time and schumi will be at 1 again with F1!

    I hope that red bull do not just run away otherwise it will be a boring predetermined season which means the team with the fastest car wins.

    Another thing on RED BULL: I think they are doing something to Webbers car, I am not a Webber fan at all, but please explain the difference in their speeds since last year. It smells as DODGY AS A FO_UL RAT! if I am the only one who sees it this way please share your ideas. I think red bull just want to have him in a corner as a second driver. Red bull sucks rats ping pong ball z! excuse the language I just think it needs to be said!

    Right, I m off to have a beer! Conragts Hami! Love and peace

  • Comment number 48.

    #40 'Come back again in 5 years and then we'll see who is great.'

    That, in essence, is exactly what I said lol!

    But yes, I currently think we will find Hamilton and Vettel are, over their careers, better than Alonso, for the reason I stated. But the case certainly isn't proven; time, as I said, will tell.

    But part of being a 'great' these days - and probably always - is getting yourself in the right car at the right time. Not something Alonso's temprament will make easy for him, as under the current managements I doubt he has much more chance than you or I of driving a McLaren or a Red Bull, which is a bit of a limitation over the next few seasons...

  • Comment number 49.

    @ Post #32

    I can't remember (off the top of my head anyway!) specifically which wet races Vettel has struggled in...but he's ditched his car in the wet on a number of occasions. Of course he has won in the wet too, but his mixed record doesn't equate to "King of the Wet" status!

    But like I said, he has always been "prematurely feted." I agree btw, that he is a very good driver - very quick 1 lap race, can dominate from the front and is a Championship winner.

    But a great? Not for me. Time will tell, I guess.

  • Comment number 50.

    @48

    Temprement??? This is getting tedious now. Alonso is proven both in driving skill and in attitude, please just accept that Alonso is a great driver and the best of this generation, so far.

  • Comment number 51.

    #48. Oh Ok then.

    If it means you can sleep tonight without wetting the bed. Happy now? ;-)

  • Comment number 52.

    I'd like to consider myself overall an F1 neutral - which is why when I see people talking about Vettel "fanboy" I instead read "bitter Hamilton fans".

    The majority of F1 World Champions win the world title because they have the best car, which is generally built around them, so its a true team effort. A lot of F1, as is commonly accepted, is about being in the right car and making the right career decisions at the right time. Prior to Brawn for example, Button was often said to have made the wrong career decisions.

    How Vettel then is in any different a situation from the one Hamilton was in at McLaren in the period when they were on top is beyond me - particularly given that Hamilton had the luxury of walking into arguably the best car on the grid in his rookie year!

    I dont see how anybody can dispute that Vettel is clearly set to be one of the greatest drivers of our generation. As if Hamilton didnt make the same amount of errors in his earlier years as Vettel has done the last couple of years as well. Take off the rose tinted glasses.

    I think also today's race proved again that DRS + Kers = possibly winning ideas, but the tyres are just taking away from the skill too much in the sense that they just fall away too easily.

  • Comment number 53.

    Nadaliator, not many people do.. I´m afraid.

    The real potential of the Ferrari is usually measured by Massa, who was constantly outperformed last year by Fernando, and even this year, except for China in which Alonso was concentrating on crucial tests during the FP1 and FP2, that combined with the hydraulics problems meant Fernando had to use Massa´s setup which resulted in a car with a pace agonisingly slow.. Otherwise Fernando outperforms the car time and time again.. and constantly beats his team mate.

    To look at how bad the F150th is you just need to look at the constructor´s championship. Even last year the Ferrari was only third behind RBR and Mclaren. Only Fernando's eager determination, masterful driving and an apparent improvement of the car towards the second part of the season allowed him to fight for championship.

    This year is even worse.. Ferrari is behind RBR, Mclaren and Mercedes, and pegged to Renault and sometimes Williams level. I hope the order has somewhat now changed (this is not just a mirage) and Ferrari is at least levelled with Mercedes (or marginally in front)..

  • Comment number 54.

    @Post 50

    Nadaliator,

    You can't just ask - and expect - other people to accept your opinion!!!! And afterall, that is all each of us have.

    And my opinion is that Alonso and Hamilton are the two best allround drivers on the grid. You can make arguments for either being better than the other e.g Hamilton as a rookie, finished above Alonso in the same car, Alonso is a double World Champion and ended the era of Schumacher/Ferrari dominance. But both drivers are not without faults/weaknesses.

  • Comment number 55.

    Greatness is awarded after time. The potential to be Great can be seen now. Those that fit this latter category are Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso.
    Hopefully Hamilton will prove me right.

  • Comment number 56.

    3. Andrew, can you confirm that before blaming the strategy - Jenson's main reason for this bad performance was the fact that his laptimes throughout all his stints just simply were'nt good enough?

    ----------------------------------------------

    Supasix, I have been reading your posts on the F1 forum for a couple of years and you scare me. You are completely obsessed with Button, or should I say your obsession with hating him. From such a fantastic race and from Benson's after race review, all your can do is target again on Button. What we had today was a great, great race. Vettel was magnificent, Alonso showed what a ruthless racer he is, and thumbs up to Webber, Lewis, Rosberg and Button for some great driving.
    Supasix, I can only guess that you either raced against Button as a junior, and he smashed you, or one of your old girlfriends dumped you for him!
    Please get your head sorted!

  • Comment number 57.

    It never fails to amaze me how so many viewers and even commentators seem to miss key things that happene in a race. Much comment has been made about Button today, including his 3 stop strategy being called a mistake by Martin Brundle, yet one look at his pit stops (one of which was which shown on replay) show that his crew were having trouble with his wheel changes, the main problem being the same wheel as Hamilton's that got stuck later.
    The upshot of this was that each stop cost Button about 2.5-3 seconds. His average stop time was over 11 seconds as against everyone around him making theirs in 8.0-8.5 with quite a few taking under 8.
    Did not anyone notice how he lost 2 places to Massa and Rosberg on each of his stops, then caught and passed them each time only to lose out again when he made his next stop.
    Another thing that is becoming very obvious is that Webber has a problem with keeping a consistent race speed. There are times when he is very quick and others when he falls back. I would bet that if any of the other top drivers had that second Red Bull, Vettel would never be getting the easy wins he is enjoying and I would not be at all surprised to see someone else in that car come 2012.

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree that Vettel has had an excellent start to the season. His quali pace has been blistering, the only fair comparison really being with Webber. Although I don't think that Webber is in the top tier of drivers (top 5 let's say) 0.5 a second is a long time. During the race he has been quick and consistent. That said the superiority of his car MUST be appreciated. If Webber is beating the likes of Lewis and Alonso then its obvious that the Red Bull is in a league of its own. As a result commentators and viewers alike are getting carried away with Vettel, let's remember that he rarely has to deal with the traffic and overtaking that comes with being lower down the grid. Cast your mind back to last season and you will recall the difficulty Vettel had when not leading from the front.

    Comparisons between drivers are very difficult to make for precisely this reason (except for team mates). That said, judging by relative performance and the opinions of those most knowledgeable about the sport, Alonso and Hamilton remain the best in the business. Alonso, in particular, has been consistently ranked number 1 by those in the industry. Their consistency in weaker cars, superiority over their team mates and continued ability to surpass expectation and the quality of their machinery are enough, in my opinion, to warrant this reputation.

    But Vettel looks on course to run away with this season which makes it quite clear who the most valuable guy in F1 is.... a 52 year old engineer. If ever there was a triumph for brains over brawn.

  • Comment number 59.

    I wish people would stop having fights on these blogs and just talk about the actual racing.
    For example, although i am full of respect for Vettel and impressed by what he has achieved, and even if the individual races are exciting, the championship is becoming boring. I hate to say it but having one guy, in the fastest car allready i think its 34 points ahead after Round 4 is ominous for the season. I love the racing but this years competetive championship is looking in danger of becoming a Schumacher-esque bore.

  • Comment number 60.

    #59 Don't worry, if he gets too far ahead Bernie will have the stewards dock him some points, or failing that get a water-cannon van go round giving him his own personal rain shower to slow him down....

  • Comment number 61.

    @regina I completely understand why people have their misconceptions about Alonso but when they doubt his driving ability it makes me question their knowledge of this sport.

    History does not lie and neither does car performance. If Alonso was in a RB now he'd be where Vettel is, if Hamilton was in an RB he would be there too. Sometimes the car defines the driver. Shame some people fail to recognise this.

  • Comment number 62.

    @52,

    SCL,

    I just clicked on your profile and have seen in a previous post stating "I thoroughly dislike Hamilton..."

    I think that well and truly null and voids your claims to be "an F1 neutral." Particularly when you're littering your arguments with lines such as "bitter Hamilton fans."

    Also, my interpretation of "Vettel fanboys," is those who "prematurely fete" him, ignore his obvious weaknesses and neglect to even acknowledge the advantage he has had for nearly two years now as a result of driving Adrian Newey designed cars - the fastest cars on the grid by some distance.

    @Regina, Post #53

    Whilst I've had a lot of sympathy for your defence of unwarranted criticism in Alonso's direction, your claim that the current Ferrari is somewhere at the level of Renault or Williams, is absolutely laughable.

    The Red Bull is in a league of its own in front. Then there is McLaren. And then a little bit behind that is Ferrari and Mercedes. Although on today's evidence, the upgrades to the Ferrari have made it a good race day car - qualfying pace still seems lacking though.

    Please, be realistic in your arguments.

  • Comment number 63.

    #48

    But part of being a 'great' these days - and probably always - is getting yourself in the right car at the right time. Not something Alonso's temprament will make easy for him, as under the current managements I doubt he has much more chance than you or I of driving a McLaren or a Red Bull, which is a bit of a limitation over the next few seasons...

    ----
    Partly agree, but disagree 100% on the point about Alonso´s temperament. Fernando has something call:

    PRIDE

    Fernando Alonso will not take a number 2 drive position, playing second fiddle, for the sake of winning the odd race and more importantly not having a team built around him. This is not false arrogance or petulancy or so and so.. The true F1 greats of all times would have not accepted this situation.. He would rather drive for a Renault finishing 13th and give a masterclass with a team around him that anything else..

  • Comment number 64.

    Posts 58 and 61 = balanced and accurate.

  • Comment number 65.

    Nadaliator, try reading a bit more carefully.

    The point I made about Alonso actually wasn't doubting his driving ability. But to be a 'great' is a bit more than just having ability, it's using it. And that includes getting yourself the opportunty to use it.

    His temprement may make it hard for him to get in the best car; and when things don't go right, he sulks and loses the plot. Both count against him, and may limit what he achieves. Thus my belief he will be seen as a very good, but maybe not a great, driver, but time will tell. That plus the fact Hamilton, given he was a rookie at the time, on occasions made him look a bit silly, a fact you seem to have overlooked!

    But you do seem determined to seek conflict simply because I fail to repeat parrot-fashion your view, even though my own is not vastly different lol!

  • Comment number 66.

    #62 - It´s quite clear Ferrari is behind RBR and Mclaren. And I would add that also behind Mercedes, definitely on raw speed. That´s my point. But even in raw speed Renault is probably ahead.. not in race pace.

    We´ll see whether this is a step ahead or just one off in the crossing of dessert for Ferrari to provide Alonso with a car able to consistently challenge for podium finishes.

  • Comment number 67.

    @65,

    telnolies,

    To be fair to Alonso's character...I find most F1 Champions to be one or more of the following ruthless/selfish/sulky/spoilt/arrogant/petulant. Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel have all acted pathetically in recent seasons. And before them, Senna, Mansell and Prost.

    F1 by its very nature demands - at the very least - that you beat your teammate. It makes drivers unflinchingly competitive and bad losers by its very own nature. Yes, Alonso played some tricks in 2007, but just look at Hamilton's reaction after winning last season in Turkey. He sulked on the podium because he was under the incorrect impression that McLaren had favoured Button to win the race.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 66,

    Fair enough, Regina.

    I do wonder, though, if Ferrari was such a great move for Alonso. Afterall, they've only managed one Championship win since the Schumacher era. And before that there was a long, long draught for a Ferrari Championship winner.

    Granted, Ferrari is a step up from the old Renault team but again that old F1 saying of "being in the right car at the right time" might come back to haunt Alonso. Sadly. I rate Alonso very highly. I would love to see Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel in cars of similar performance...a truly mouth-watering thought!

  • Comment number 69.

    Argh, "drought" not "draught!"

  • Comment number 70.

    @Robbieo79

    So Hamilton is a great driver because he had the best car when he started in F1 and when he won the F1 but somehow Vettel is not a great driver? I am actually neutral and have no favorite among the drivers but your posts are surely as biased toward Hamilton as others are toward Alonso or Vettel or whomever they support.

  • Comment number 71.

    Robbieo - I agree entirely. It's just my personal opinion that Alonso's, and his behaviour at Mclaren when he damaged the team because he wanted favoured status and couldn't have it, may harm his chances to achieve all he could. Which would be a shame actually.

    It's just my personal view, that's all, but seems somebody here thinks we all have to all share his ;-)

  • Comment number 72.

    @telnolies

    I'm pleased that you have used punctuation in the correct context which is rare here.

    On that note aside, you clearly haven't read your posts back, or mine for that matter. Temprement is not a deciding factor in who wins championships. Hamilton joined McLaren in 2007 and that was over 4 years ago and I will not comment on something that happened so long ago because it's irrelevant.

    Your view is very different to mine because I believe Alonso to be an all time great and you don't. If sulking could win a race I do believe Lewis would win by 0.088 from Alonso as there is a miniscule difference there.

    Many drivers have made Alonso look silly, but then again the point of our conversation is about who is the more superior driver, not the one who sulks more.

    Oh, and your Italian comment with Ferrari and Pirelli kind of backs me up...........

  • Comment number 73.

    Nice to see that it's descended into another Vettel V Hamilton V Alonso slanging match.

    I enjoyed today, the top 3 were kind of a given after 10 laps, I'll grant you that, but it was interesting none the less. Vettel simply drove away again, not a foot wrong today. Webber and Alonso gave it a go but didn't quite have enough, Red Bull ran the tyres well to get Webber second at the end. Rosberg did all he could with a car that just didn't have the race pace. Hamilton's mistake dropped him back initially but the slow pit stop cost him a podium chance. Button gambled and misjudged the tyre grip level drop off and Massa had a good scrap until half distance.

    There were a few incidents as well, one that springs to mind was the Renault guys tangling with some fist shaking. The McLaren guys gave some good entertainment as well. It may not be for the lead but racing is racing to me no matter where it's for, I just enjoy watching two guys scrap for the same bit of tarmac. I'm equally at home watching someone drive a car off into the distance by pushing it to the limit. Just enjoy it is my advice, it's all a demonstration of the top guys in the world doing what they do best.

    It's upsetting to hear Schumacher talk about his loss of enthusiasm for the sport. Love him or loath him, at the top his game there were few better. I personally love watching him and it's a shame to see him struggle. If he does decide to call it quits at the end of the year then fair play to him, I'll still remember him for he's achieved rather than what he didn't.

    @47 Mark Adler, I'm making the assumption you didn't see Brundle's comparison of Webber and Vettel's qualifying times where he shows Vettel's ability to hit his lines more consistently is currently making a difference. I'd check that out if you haven't seen it, makes interesting viewing.

  • Comment number 74.

    @58

    Comparisons between drivers are very difficult to make for precisely this reason (except for team mates). That said, judging by relative performance and the opinions of those most knowledgeable about the sport, Alonso and Hamilton remain the best in the business. Alonso, in particular, has been consistently ranked number 1 by those in the industry.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indeed comparisons between drivers are difficult to make, unless they are driving for the same team.

    Alonso and Hamilton did once drive for the same team. It was only Hamilton's first season, but he beat Alonso by a whisker. Alonso threw his toys from his pram and the rest is history.

    Now he's at Ferrari where he doesn't have any problems overtaking his team mate. Well when I say he doesn't have any problems, what I mean is he does, but then he whinges on the radio and his team make poor Massa get out the way.

  • Comment number 75.

    @Post 70,

    Terry,

    Er no, I've not said that at all...

    Put simply, Vettel cannot be considered remotely near "great" status because of his multiple failures to win from the pack/overtake rivals last season. Furthermore, he has overtaken just three cars in just two manouevers in his 13 GP wins. Oh, and he drives Adrian Newey designed cars! See the connection yet!?

    And if I was a blind, devoted Hamilton fan then I would not have acknowledged his weaknesses over and over again on these boards. Moreover, I would be attacking Alonso with relish!

  • Comment number 76.

    As it is clear that the RB7 is the undisputed class of the field at the moment and it appears untouchable on pace whoever is driving it. Therefore, how about this for an idea for the other top teams…
    In qualifying, use 2 sets of the Prime tyre for Q1 & Q2, don’t take part in Q3 and start the race in 10th on the grid (or maybe 1 or 2 places lower if need be) with 4 brand new sets for the race.
    Think that some of the other top teams might want/need to give this a go, particularly as overtaking is much less difficult and as tyre degradation costs so much lap time. & as Webber & Kobayashi have already show this year, having new sets available of the whole race is a very big advantage.

    Just thinking of Canada last year & how the hard waring Bridgestones were worn away there, it will be much worse this year! might see a 5 or even a 6 stop race.

  • Comment number 77.

    Oh and Vettel's two overtakes of three cars have all occured before the first corner...

    @Post 73,

    What's wrong with comparing recent Championship winners!? That's the whole point of F1...to win a Championship so of course we will compare drivers!

  • Comment number 78.

    Nadaliator... listen carefully because I will say this only once lol!

    I actually said I believed history may show that Hamilton and Vettel are great, and Alonso very good - but he may lose out on being a 'great' because of his temprement and, linked to that, inability to get the best car at the right time. You yourself said time will tell. Just as I did. The ONLY difference between us is you vary between believing Alonso IS a great, or 'time will tell and he will be' depending on your post, and I believe he is a very good driver who MAY miss out, not because of lack of skill, but problems of temprement. Hamilton and Vettel can sulk like the best of them, but haven't yet cost their team £50M...

    'Temprement is not a deciding factor in who wins championships.' Really?

    'your Italian comment with Ferrari and Pirelli kind of backs me up' Which comment would that be, as I've never mentioned either of them?

    Now stop sulking because I won't repeat your EXACT words, but if you pay more attention you will see I am by and large agreeing with you and have been all along!!!!

  • Comment number 79.

    >"The Newey desinged Red Bulls are a far bigger factor for their dominance than their drivers."

    Look, we all understand that the car (and the pit crew, and several other factors) have as big a role to play as the drivers. You don't need to flog this poor nag to death over and over again. It's a team sport and all the different parts have to come together for a team to become world champions.

    And it's ALWAYS a team which becomes champion, never a driver.

  • Comment number 80.

    @79

    Wrong! It's ALWAYS the DRIVER who becomes Champion, who cares about the constructor?

  • Comment number 81.

    >"Put simply, Vettel cannot be considered remotely near "great" status because of his multiple failures to win from the pack/overtake rivals last season. Furthermore, he has overtaken just three cars in just two manouevers in his 13 GP wins. Oh, and he drives Adrian Newey designed cars! "

    Obviously F1 needs some sort of handicapping system where extra weight gets added to those "Adrian Newey designed cars" which irritate you so much, or perhaps Vettel can automatically be docked four places from whatever his pole position is, thereby forcing him to overtake more drivers?

    Let me gently suggest to you that you're making a fool of yourself here.

  • Comment number 82.

    So much going on the commentators found it hard to keep up... and there were a few "err...err... what?" moments. Difficult job commentating, any chance a pro can be brought back? If so can I suggest Johnathan Legard? He often states the obvious (that's what pro commentators often do) but often the obvious needs stating.

  • Comment number 83.

    Good point about Vettel´s overtaking robbieo79.

    EJ mentioned this during the F1 Forum following the race: i.e. Vettel´s dislike and/or lack of ability to overtake among other faults. Even Jake joked at that since he´s comfortably leading the table thanks to Mr Newey..

    In my opinion, once other cars really start challenging the RBR for wins, and especially if Vettel does not get or looses first position at the start, we may see Vettel making more mistakes and not only finishing in P2 or P3 but further behind and even DNFs. But for this, other cars need to be able to match RBR speed, which right now, is almost impossible.

  • Comment number 84.

    @robbieo79, sir you speak complete sense. Vettel, in my view, is simply an above average driver in a fantastic car. Alonso (I don't even like the man) and Hamilton are by far the best drivers out there. They do not have the cars to get the job done.
    @f1nut, agree, this is MAINLY about strategy with tyres. As much as I love Formula One with innovations like Kers and DRS I am getting bored. Where is the fun? My only enjoyment today was the Button/Hamilton battle.

  • Comment number 85.

    >"It's ALWAYS the DRIVER who becomes Champion"

    It's NEVER the driver who becomes champion.

    "who cares about the constructor?"

    The driver does, since it's the constructors car which largely determines whether he wins or loses.

    To repeat a point which many failed to grasp last season - there are categories of motor racing which pit drivers head to head against one another in identical cars. F1 is NOT one of those. People who really really really want to see drivers race each other on equal terms need to wise up and STOP WATCHING FORMULA ONE, which is a very different sport.

  • Comment number 86.

    #85 Quite so. And if EJ is to be believed, it also matters to the teams as it's seen as important by sponsors. Wtihout whom the drivers would be in Nissan Micras.

  • Comment number 87.

    Twirlip: "The driver does, since it's the constructors car which largely determines whether he wins or loses."

    The driver will switch, in a blink of an eye, to the car that will give him the championship. With him he will take his supporters.
    Therefore, for the fan "It's ALWAYS the DRIVER who becomes Champion"



  • Comment number 88.

    "for the fan "It's ALWAYS the DRIVER who becomes Champion"

    For fans like you, that may be true. But ...

    "The driver will switch, in a blink of an eye, to the car that will give him the championship. "

    Yeah, he will if he can. Which tells any fan with a brain what the relevant contributions are of the car and the driver. Hint: the car which gives him the championship deserves as much or more credit as the driver does.

  • Comment number 89.

    @telnolies

    My biggest issue is your comments regarding Alonso's temprement and him not being great............I disagree on both counts as he is a great already.

    I may have mixed up another postee with the Pirelli comment so apologies for that, but I could've sword've sworn it was you!!

  • Comment number 90.

    @telnolies

    It was Fernandoflatspots that I had an issue with so please accept my most humble apologies for mixing you up with that moron.

    Still, I disagree with you on Alonso!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    Twirlip: I'm glad you are eventually coming round to the correct way of thinking "...the championship deserves as much or more credit as the driver does."

    Obviously, without a car it would be called Athletics, (running round a circuit).

    All I am saying is that the driver takes precedence over the car. Chicken or egg?

    The support will ALWAYS go to your favoured driver before any constructor

  • Comment number 92.

    Nadaliator, I believe that came from someone that started watching F1 probably... errr.. 3 weeks ago.. I would ignore it.

    I totally agree with you: Fernando is already a sport greatest. The majority of the drivers rate him as the best. Today BBC F1 fans indeed agreed he was Driver of the Day, so I rest my case..

    btw.. real shame about Nadal..

  • Comment number 93.

    >"The Newey desinged Red Bulls are a far bigger factor for their dominance than their drivers."
    If this was true why no drivers has ever achieved what Vettel has done so far with Neweys'car?
    Vettel has more than six world records which includes, youngest F1 driver when he appeared in the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix’s Free Practice session, youngest driver to lead the race in 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, youngest to become a Pole sitter, Youngest to win a race, Youngest ever runners up in 2009 season and finally youngest Formula 1 Champion in 2010.
    And, some of this records are not with a Newey's car...
    The story is that this Hamiltonboys don't like the fact that Vettel is an exceptional talent, furthermore he is not dirty, he can make mistakes but not deliberately taking out other drivers, Senna,Shumi,Hamilton they have all done that!!
    Certainly you need a fast car to win races/championship, Alonso did it with a slower car in 2006, and when you have a fast car underneath you should nail it if you are great and Vettel is, simple as that!

  • Comment number 94.

    I´ve been hooked on motor racing for 50 years. Vettel is going to be a great driver.

    Alonso and Hamilton are in the same league. We´re very fortunate to have such talents in direct competition, especially in a formula which can provide wheel to wheel racing after so long without it.

    Car advantage may mean that Vettel can waltz off into the distance, but there are no weaknesses in his game. He could win from the middle of the grid. The best drivers can. Vettel hasn´t had to do it yet.

  • Comment number 95.

    GillesVFan: "Vettel...but not deliberately taking out other drivers"

    How about the time he nearly took-out his team-mate Webber when he didn't like being over-taken?

  • Comment number 96.

    @regina Thanks, and yes, agree with you entirely.

  • Comment number 97.

    I do agree with the post that mentioned Webber´s car is getting "something" done not to catch his team mate, although I read this past week that he refused to lose more weight to compensate the extra weight of the KERS, so this theorically affects the way the ballast is set on his car.
    And the way the comments are going through, I believe Alonso and Ham are today the ones to beat, even you like or dislike them, they´re masterclass.
    Vettel seems to be driving a Scalextric, so does Webber, you just have to take a look of the onboards, they don´t have no need of corrections any moment, just amazing. So I guess the other masterclass is Adrian.

  • Comment number 98.

    I think it's too early to say that Vettel will dominate this season. Admittedly it's currently panning out like Jenson's championship year, but lest we forget Vettel only led the WDC after he crossed the line at Abu Dhabi.

  • Comment number 99.

    All these comments about Vettels overtaking skills are largely irrelevent,at the end of the day the guy does what he does best, qualifies on pole as the fastest one lap driver out there. Therefore as a still relatively inexperienced driver the one small weakness he has in overtaking may take time to come as he gives himself the best opportunity not to have to overtake wether in the long run this is good or bad for him time will tell, he has all the hallmarks of becoming one of the greatest drivers ever, if it is as a pole to flag champion or a through the field fighter either way how you win makes you great. Boring or not the kid has class.

  • Comment number 100.

    @74
    It's a fair enough point - when Hamilton and Alonso were together they finished equal on points despite the former only being a rookie. It's a matter of opinion who's better and I would agree that they are very close, although I reckon Alonso nicks it. I think the 2007 season was a bad one for Alonso, it was evident that he felt disconcerted and uncomfortable at McLaren, whether or not you agree that his emotions were justified. Furthermore I would argue that both drivers have improved since this time, indeed perhaps Alonso has improved more than Lewis who has in some regards failed to add a mature perspctive to complement his formidable pace. Additionally, I think that last season showcased the best of Alonso's talents, he really grew into the role of lead driver. It is very difficult to dispute the almost unanimous agreement within the sport that Alonso is the best, both drivers and team members alike consistently vote for him as the best driver in the sport.

    As I said, everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, I do believe that a number of people (yourself included) fail to separate Alonso as a person and as a driver. Your comments, including 'throwing toys out of the pram' and 'whinging over the radio' are hardly an objective valuation. Also it seems ridiculous that you could dispute Alonso's superiority over Massa: he wipes the flaw with him nine times out of ten. I must admit that it annoys me when people are unable to give a balanced appraisal of sportsmen they dislike. In the same way that Rooney cheating on his wife does not make him a worse footballer, Alonso's occassional petulance does not detract from his undoubted driving ability.

 

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