BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson
« Previous | Main | Next »

Cool, canny Alonso seems to have all the answers

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 20:17 UK time, Sunday, 22 July 2012

The remarkable story of Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's incredible season continued at the German Grand Prix as the Spaniard became the first man to win three races in 2012 and moved into an imposing lead in the world championship.

Those three victories have all been very different, but equally impressive. And each has demonstrated specific aspects of the formidable army of Alonso's talents.

In Malaysia in the second race of the season, at a time when the Ferrari was not competitive in the dry, he grabbed the opportunity provided by rain to take a most unexpected first win.

In Valencia last month, it was Alonso's opportunism and clinical overtaking abilities that were to the fore.

Fernando Alonso tops the podium in Hockenheim

Other drivers may wonder how to stop Alonso's relentless drive to a third title. Photo: Getty

And in Germany on Sunday his victory was founded on his relentlessness, canniness and virtual imperviousness to pressure.

Ferrari, lest we forget, started the season with a car that was the best part of a second and a half off the pace. Their progress since then has been hugely impressive.

But vastly improved though the car is, it was not, as Alonso himself, his team boss Stefano Domenicali and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel all pointed out after the race on Sunday, the fastest car in Germany.

Vettel's Red Bull - which finished second but was demoted to fifth for passing Jenson Button by going off the track - and the McLaren appeared to have a slight pace advantage over the Ferrari, given their ability to stay within a second of it for lap after lap.

But Alonso cleverly managed his race so he was always just out of reach of them when it mattered.

He pushed hard in the first sector every lap so he was always far enough ahead at the start of the DRS overtaking zone to ensure his pursuers were not quite close enough to try to pass him into the Turn 6 hairpin.

After that, he could afford to back off through the middle sector of the lap, taking the stress out of his tyres, before doing it all over again the next time around.

Managing the delicate Pirelli tyres in this way also meant he could push that bit harder in the laps immediately preceding his two pit stops and ensure he kept his lead through them.

Equally, he showed the presence of mind to realise when Lewis Hamilton unlapped himself on Vettel shortly before the second stops that if he could, unlike the Red Bull driver, keep Hamilton behind, it would give him a crucial advantage at the stop.

It was not quite "67 qualifying laps", as Domenicali described it after the race, but it was certainly a masterful demonstration of control and intelligence.

And there was no arguing with another of the Italian's post-race verdicts. "(Alonso) is at the peak of his personal performance, no doubt about it," Domenicali said.

It was the 30th victory of Alonso's career, and he is now only one behind Nigel Mansell in the all-time winners' list. The way he is driving, he will surely move ahead of the Englishman into fourth place behind Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna before the end of the year.

At the halfway point of the season, Alonso now looks down on his pursuers in the championship from the lofty vantage point of a 34-point advantage.

That is not, as Red Bull team principal Christian Horner correctly pointed out in Germany, "insurmountable" with 10 races still to go and 250 points up for grabs. But catching him when he is driving as well as this will take some doing.

Alonso is clearly enjoying the situation, and is taking opportunities to rub his rivals' noses in it a little.

He is not the only driver to have been wound up by the index-finger salute Vettel employed every time he took one of his 11 wins and 15 pole positions on the way to the title last year.

So it was amusing to see Alonso do the same thing after he had beaten the German to pole position at Vettel's home race on Saturday.

The exchange between Alonso, Button and Vettel as they climbed out of their cars immediately after the race was also illuminating.

After standing on his Ferrari's nose to milk the applause, Alonso turned to Button and said: "You couldn't beat me?" He then pointed to Vettel and said: "He couldn't either."

All part of the game, but a little reminder to both men of what a formidable job Alonso is doing this season.

The race underlined how close the performance is between the top three teams this year.

Red Bull had a shaky start to the season by their standards - although to nowhere near the extent of Ferrari - but have had on balance the fastest car in the dry since the Bahrain Grand Prix back in April.

And while McLaren have had a shaky couple of races in Valencia and Silverstone, they showed potential race-winning pace in Germany following the introduction of a major upgrade.

Despite a car damaged when he suffered an early puncture on debris left from a first-corner shunt ironically involving Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa, Hamilton was able to run with the leaders before his retirement with gearbox damage.

And Button impressively fought his way up to second place from sixth on the grid, closing a five-second gap on Alonso and Vettel once he was into third place.

This has not been Button's greatest season, as he would be the first to admit.

Germany was the first race at which he has outqualified Hamilton in 2012 and even that may well have been down to the different tyre strategies they ran in qualifying.

Nevertheless, he remains a world-class grand prix driver and Germany proved the folly of those who had written him off after his recent struggles.

And despite Alonso's lead in the championship, the season is finely poised.

Germany was a low-key race for Mark Webber, who was unhappy with his car on the harder of the two tyres but remains second in the championship. And Red Bull's two drivers clearly have the equipment to make life difficult for Alonso.

The McLaren drivers are determined to make something of their season still and Lotus are quick enough to cause the three big teams some serious concern.

Mercedes, meanwhile, have a bit of work to do to turn around their tendency to qualify reasonably well and then go backwards in the race.

"It's going to be a great, great season," said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh on Sunday. "It already has been a great season."

And the next instalment is already less than seven days away in Hungary next weekend.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting race Big congrats to Alonso great drive shame for Lewis as with Jenson finishing on the podium it was what might have been......again. And the sight of the Bieber flapping his arms as quite rightly Lewis unlapped him self from a slower car was priceless :0)

  • Comment number 2.

    It says rather a lot for Fernando Alonso that even when he doesnt have the best car he is always in contention. His superior tactical acumen and driving skill look set to propel him to another world championship, unless Red Bull maybe decide to throw all their resources behind Mark Webber.

    I'll be interested to see if the BBC top 20 drivers countdown is going to include him, because his achievements in his career to date certainly bear comparison to the drivers listed thus far.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good race, not the most exciting but an excellent drive from Alonso nonetheless. He has easily been the best driver in the first half of the season, and he must be tho king if he matches his results from the pest half of the season he should win the title. I think 300 points will win the title this year. The interesting thing will be how long will Mclaren and Red Bull allow their two drivers to race? Clearly Ferrari are totally behind Fernando, and will give home everything he needs. How many more races can Red Bull allow their two drivers take points off each other? I suppose whilst Fernando keeps winning it doesn't matter what the other teams do, but in say 5 races time they will have to decide. I think Mclaren need to focus on Lewis now if they are to stand a chance of the WDC. But as a Ferrari fan I just think keep going Fernando, get those podiums and points, pick up another 3 or 4 wins and you could be a 3 time world champion.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great drive by a great driver. I reckon Alonso will be - at worst - 8 in the BBC all time list. Be interesting to see it!

  • Comment number 5.

    Congratulations to Alonso, he is really showing what a well rounded driver we know him to be. He keeps this on, the season is surely his.
    Shame about Hamilton's run of luck though. This time a puncture from Massa's car debris. It just had to be Massa as well haha :p
    But overall a good race all around with some excitement from Mr Hamilton again

  • Comment number 6.

    @2 - They've included Hamilton so the only question is how far up they include Alonso.
    Because of a general tendency to assume that the stars of the past outshone those of the present and Alonso's unpopularity in some quarters its quite difficult for many to accept to this sort of opinion but frankly I wonder how far Alonso could really be from the greatest the sport has seen. Albeit I am too young to have seen senna, prost, et al and it is always difficult to compare different generations but his consistent ability to outperform both his car and an extremely competitive field peppered with world champions speaks volumes for his ability.

  • Comment number 7.

    @6 let's think about it top4 in some order should be Michael, Prost, senna and Fangio. Then you also Have Stewart as a 3 time champion and Lauda too. They would be my top 6 do at beast I would put Alonso 7th right now and he certainly has a chance to move higher than that by the end of his career. An interesting thing will be if they named Hamilton surely they should name Vettel?

  • Comment number 8.

    Buttons not world class mate, he's 'very good'. Only 3 world class drivers on the grid in my opinion, also Benson on your other article, 'Button thrilled with pace' you say Jenson is 30 years old. He's 32 pal, I thought you of all people would know that as you are the top Jenson fan boy of the BBC.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    @1 i agree, vettel's arm waving antics, priceless. and given that Seb didn't do any media work after getting the penalty, i think the youn boy,was sulkin again, i cant believe that Red bull are still allowing him to call other drivers idiots, just because they get into his way, i think Horner needs to have a word in his shell like PDQ

  • Comment number 11.

    @8 yes 3 Hamilton, Alonso & Raikkonen

  • Comment number 12.

    @10 he did speak to the press after getting his penalty, saying it was good to be on the podium at his home race but he had to respect the stewards decision.

  • Comment number 13.

    Is it just me? Sick of listening to MB verbal diahrea about Mclaren, all he could talk about was how JB was saving his tyres for the last 5 laps to pounce Alonso, who was surely going to be a sitting duck bla bla bla. I do like most drivers, but my favourites have to be the ones who win not because they have a car which is 1 second faster than all the others, such as SV during the last 2 seasons.

  • Comment number 14.

    A remarkable drive from a talented Alonso, i think we've seen today numerous mistakes from Vettel going off track that no one talked about, he just cant manage his temper when things aren't going his way, it started with Hamilton overtake then with Button chase.

    Also, Alonso's performance is making Massa's life and future at Ferrari more and more miserable, the difference between the 2 drivers is huge!! He lost his recent confidence boost picked up at Silverstone with a stupid crash...

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.

    I find it funny that he's accused of being biased yet its clear that the BBC are nautrally biased towards thier own country, its fine to do so every country will support thier own nationality but it must be taken into account that they are always more favourable to their own :P

  • Comment number 17.

    @16 most people's point is that Andrew Benson has a perceived favouritism to JB over LH.

  • Comment number 18.

    i forgot to mention, great drive for Alonso, im not a fan, but, i have to take my hat off to the guy, he is an all time great, nobody else on the grid can even hold a candle to him at the moment.

    i am a Hamilton fan, but i know that he is no where near being an all time great (yet).

    at the moment, Seb will never become an all time great.

  • Comment number 19.

    @14 I think Massa's position is untenable in the Ferrari team which is a shame. Massa's never been the same since his Hungarian accident in 2010. When sports-people suffer potential life threatening injuries, they're never quite the same after again. Don't think we'll ever see Robert Kubicia on the grid again either. Congratulations Fernando, you controlled the race brilliantly. Shame about Lewis but at least the McLaren showed some race pace in the dry. Think Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren have detached themselves from the other teams now - only the Lotus or possibly the Sauber might produce an eighth winner this season, the rest are also-rans.

  • Comment number 20.

    On this link for the top 20 greatest drivers of all time
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/17299158

    It says four of the drivers named in it are on the grid this year. We know Hamilton is one, obviously Michael will be another, I am assuming Alonso is the 3rd but who is the 4th? Surely it is Sebastian Vettel? And surely he has to be named next in 10th place all time.

  • Comment number 21.

    alonso is agreat driver... im the first to admit it

    vettel is not yet button will never be... is he world class? yes like most f1 drivers

    as for lewis very unlucky... he can thank his team once again and hope he will remember all that when its time to decide his future in a few weeks...

  • Comment number 22.

    @20 Of course the fourth one is Sebastian. Even though he might have had the dominant car in his two title seasons, statiscally, his record is second-to-none. In the fullness of time, nobody remembers the intricasies of respective races, they just remember the statistics, that's why Sebastian loves breaking records.

  • Comment number 23.

    Very good drive from Alonso after fantastic pole laps in the wet. Thought with the dry weather he would be mugged by Sebs faster car at the end of the stints, or a McLaren on their dry pace. Today Seb took a bit of a beating from a slower car without drs for most laps, which must get to him a bit.

    McLaren looks fast, Jenson caught up to the front two well and put together a great in/out lap with a miracle pitstop to do Seb then block him perfectly when Seb tried to drs him. I know McLaren used their 'number 2' driver to help him a bit but today Jenson came fighting back from his slump well.

    Seb should have run alongside Jenson and tried to muscle him out at the next bend instead of going off track to take a straighter and smoother line to accelerate past. Though Seb went fully 4 wheels off track a lot throughout the race and gained slightly in some sector times on the live timing. Penalty to 5th was quite harsh though.

    What's with Webber today, does Horner need to take an upgraded front wing from Mark to give to Seb to get Mark angry and perhaps faster?

    Lewis needs to ignore his championship and go for wins now, it might help his menal state. He certainly has the car for it now if he could have qualified it better in the rain and get off the line better as he seems to have issues starting around midfield.

    Cant believe how fast the Sauber can run on fairly worn tyres and the Lotus too when it gets hotter. They both should have won a race by now based on their amazing race lap time pace. Grosjean was terrible today though!

    I doubt it will happed as he is still racing, but Alonso should be in their top 3 of all time, behind Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna, he is that good, ahead of Fangio, Stewart and Schumacher.

  • Comment number 24.

    Alonso is surely not going to throw leading the championship away. Back in his Eenault days he consistently finished on the podium to beat the likes of Raikkonen to round off his season so I think he will keep the same approach. I don't think he is 'out performing' the car anymore as the Ferarri seems as quick as anything; even Massa qualifed well at Silverstone! Once again Vettel still lacks the ability to overtake on track

  • Comment number 25.

    Seeing Hamilton getting lapped was priceless. He messed up qualifying, messed up his start and ended with a punctured tyre a lap down the field. All that coudlv been avoided if he had just used his head a bit more. Well done to Alonso, showing what a thinking driver can do with his talents. Lets hope for more of the same at Hungaroring.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    As I said yesterday in the blog Fernando is the current best driver intelligent and knows how to get the best out of his car!! And i am not a fan of his but full credit to the guy
    Seb has shown he has still some growing up to do and is still not in the same league as Fernando and the point of Lewis overtaking him showed that and his post race comments about it
    Jenson well had a good result but hey this is 1 race like in Australia not sure he should get too excited given his recent form maybe after he has a string of results then perhaps he can get excited
    I see Kimi is steadily getting the results without a lot being said about him interesting to watch his steady climb up the table
    Lewis got so deflated after his puncture (Forgive the pun) he was driving as if he was gong through the motions!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Shock and Horror! f1fan01 actually agrees with Benson on his analysis of Alonsos race!!!!!

    Back to reality he still can't help himself with the Button fanboyism though.

    Gutted for Hamilton, unbelievable bad luck to be the only one to get a puncture.

    I can't help thinking that if he could leave Jenson behind and go on to overtake Vettel with a damaged car then he would have been on for the win if he was in Jensons position.

    Having said that Jenson hasn't redeemed himself yet but he did well today. He's fine when he has a fast car underneath him which makes him a good driver but I've yet to see him wrestle a bad car up to the front which stops me from saying he is a great driver.

    Hamiltons antics with Vettel is definitely one in the eye for all those Hamilton haters who say he's not a team player.

    I think Jenson will be buying Lewis a drink after that and lets face it I think Lewis will need one.

  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    @26 I felt like I was agreeing with you, right up until the point you said Vettel had a slower car at times last year ha ha. I think 15pole positions shows you have a car with raw pace and 11wins shows you have a car with great race pace. Man what an awful, slow car Seb had in 2011.

  • Comment number 31.

    @25 an 26. How can you say that Hamilton messed up qualifying. For two consecutive races the polesitter was dictated by the weather. With the rain easing up and a dry line being engendered, anyone - and I mean ANYONE who was last before the chequered flag dropped would have been on pole - even Karthikeyan if he was the last one, well perhaps not Narain, but you know what I mean. You can only really validate a pole position when the conditions are conducive to Formula 1 racing.

  • Comment number 32.

    @31 except that Fernandos last but 1 lap time was only bettered by himself and no other drivers on their last laps

  • Comment number 33.

    Benson continues to demonstrate how much his journalism is at tabloid level by twisting Vettels quote "I don't see the point in him trying to race us. It is a bit stupid to race the leaders." into an article titled "Vettel calls Lewis Hamilton stupid".

    I find it very funny that no matter how many clear cut examples of his pro-Jenson anti-Hamilton bias people give, the Hamilton haters still persist with saying it doesn't exist.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm not Alonso's greatest fan, but he has been driving superbly all year, and if he wins the championship, he'll deserve it.

    Good to see Button and McLaren back on form, even if Hamilton was hugely unlucky to be the only driver to pick up a puncture from Massa's debris. His pass on Vettel was brilliant, and Seb's reaction just shows his true colours. It's easy to be humble and generous when everything's going your way like it did for him last year. Today we saw his flaws once again. His hand-waving at Hamilton was hilarious; Lewis was clearly faster.

    Oh, and no question about Vettel's penalty. Before he went off track, he was behind Button. When he came back on, he was ahead.

  • Comment number 35.

    I have been following Formula 1 for 38 years and over that time some truly great drivers have emerged, those whom one perceives have offered the sport evidence of having something extra special in their set of skills. I thought Fernando Alonso gave us a glimpse of that in his first championship year in 1995 when against the much faster Mclaren of Kimi Raikkonen was never headed by the Finn in the quest for the title that year. This year in a car that still isn't the class of the field he has established himself ahead of the class of 2012. It would not be a travesty if he should comfortably make the top 5 of the all time greats in the sport.

  • Comment number 36.

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

  • Comment number 37.

    @32 That's precisely my point, he was the last one.

  • Comment number 38.

    @37 but if he hadn't of done his last lap he would have still been on pole as his penultimate lap was not bettered by anybody. Nobody on their last lap beat Fernandos penultimate one

  • Comment number 39.

    30. At 23:53 22nd Jul 2012, Rach1985 wrote:
    "@26 I felt like I was agreeing with you, right up until the point you said Vettel had a slower car at times last year ha ha. I think 15pole positions shows you have a car with raw pace and 11wins shows you have a car with great race pace. Man what an awful, slow car Seb had in 2011."

    The Red Bull was slower than the McLaren IN RACE TRIM (not qualifying that was a different story for a couple of reasons) in Spain, Monaco, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Japan and Abu Dhabi - 10 out of the 19 races. Put the dvds back on play.

    5 of these McLaren won (excluding China too), in 3 they didn't get pole and probably the win only due to driver or team error on the Saturday, in 2 Vettel had to defend for his life, and in 5 of these (excluding all the rest) they had driver errors on the Sunday losing big points.


    31. At 23:54 22nd Jul 2012, MCForty wrote:
    "@25 an 26. How can you say that Hamilton messed up qualifying. For two consecutive races the polesitter was dictated by the weather."

    Even if that was the case -and it isn't- the bottom line is that he lost at least half a second in each of his flying laps (one at Club one at the Mercedes grandstand) so he didn't extract the maximum out of the car.



    .

  • Comment number 40.

    @31 Well then why did Hamilton pit? Why didnt he use his head and do like Alonso? If its 2 qualifyings in consesion why doesnt he shadow Alonsos every move? Its simple. he messed up his qualifying, messed up his start and got himself in harms way.

    Some say it was cruel luck but luck had zilch to do with it. I guess its bad karma for ignoring the F1 rules every other week. This time the stewards couldnt save his bacon like they did in Bahrain, when he broke the exact same rule as Vettel did today (and who got a very harsh penalty for it).

  • Comment number 41.

    @38 I get what you're saying and it makes sense.

  • Comment number 42.

    Alonso is a great driver, but the man who would have raced him hard is being handicapped by his own team and that is hammi, also the only driver that makes olonso nervous.WE MADE YOU AND WE CAN BREAK YOU is what mclaren is saying to lewis even ron dennis is on board now. It sickens me how whitmarsh praises jenson, look they broke the record in bitstops today because of button is ahead. And how they always find a way to remove hammi from the equation when they think that button has a chance.

  • Comment number 43.

    Just watching the highlights on iPlayer, and it's interesting that both Ben Edwards & David Coulthard thought Seb's overtake of Jenson was fine, with DC even calling him a clever boy for using the run-off area, whereas the Sky pairing of David Croft & Martin Brundle called it straight away as being outside of the rules.

    Also, loving the McLaren animations, today's comment by Jenson to Lewis "Mate, your beard has slipped" was a classic.

  • Comment number 44.

    @39 in 2011 the Red Bull team set 10 fastest laps, compared to 6 for Mclaren and 3 for Ferrari. That means that they had speed in race trim also. Setting more fastest laps than two of the other teams put together. The car won 12 races in total more than the two other winning teams put together. I am not saying that the Red Bull was fastest at every race, but it was by far and away the fastest car of 2011. I'm not taking anything away from Seb, he won 11 of those 12 Red Bull wins, he drove fantastically, but he didn't have an inferior car for certain.

  • Comment number 45.

    The knives are out!!
    WATCH OUT LEWIS

  • Comment number 46.

    Sheesh, the moderators just don't get it. OK, 4th attempt to make my original point:



    "Germany was the first race at which he has outqualified Hamilton in 2012 and even that may well have been down to the different tyre strategies they ran in qualifying.

    Nevertheless, he remains a world-class grand prix driver and Germany proved the folly of those who had written him off after his recent struggles."

    =========

    Well said Andrew, although I'm sure we'll get the usual fans on here as usual, with their ludicrous conspiracy theories.

    Congratulations to Alonso on a measured drive, and great victory today. He really is the class of the field at the moment. If Seb had conceded the place back he surely would have had another better opportunity to pass Jenson as he had the better tyres at that stage.

    Finally, great drive by Jenson to get back on the podium, with a well-deserved second place, pulling off some great overtakes along the way. Congratulations also to the McLaren pit crew, with a fantastic 2.4 second pit stop today. Looks like the hard work Sam Michael and the crew have put in is beginning to pay dividends.

  • Comment number 47.

    Moderators, if somebody breaks the rules and is then penalised by the stewards, then that is cheating. Nothing defamatory about that. Not that I am referring to any particular driver, or incident, of course!

  • Comment number 48.

    On the qualifying debate Fernando just proved what a good driver he is by knowing the track was improving and doing what he did to get pole

  • Comment number 49.

    Nibs where do you find these stats? Would love to know so i can check them out for myself please

  • Comment number 50.

    By the way, where were Mr F1, "no S in my name" Jake Humphrey and Eddie today? BBC coverage seemed a bit lightweight and lacking in belief today, almost as though they are just going through the motions, rather than being totally committed.

  • Comment number 51.

    25.
    At 23:45 22nd Jul 2012, Boristhegreek wrote:

    Seeing Hamilton getting lapped was priceless. He messed up qualifying, messed up his start and ended with a punctured tyre a lap down the field. All that coudlv been avoided if he had just used his head a bit more. Well done to Alonso, showing what a thinking driver can do with his talents. Lets hope for more of the same at Hungaroring.
    ----------------------
    and they say there is no Hamilton haters!!
    ohh wow, just wow

  • Comment number 52.

    A bit off topic but I need to make this point.

    Who else believes (as I do) that interviews on the podium (instead of in a controlled backstage setting) is a real big disappointment after the race? I hate this idea so much, it really is a step backwards for the fan watching on TV. It would be nice for fans at the race but we loose so much of that special insight post race.
    It would be great if they still did the normal procedure as well as a very quick chat on the podium for the track fans. Who agrees?

  • Comment number 53.

    Ithink vettel has croossed the line calling names to sveral drivers,like stupid etc. he should grow up and stop these childish anger. passing somebody from the outside is stupid and i know how many times he did foolish things. i don't like the guy but today i wanted him to pass button. and button's engineer say we can win this. what a flap.

  • Comment number 54.

    @52

    I do, Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda are great racing drivers, but they are not great interviewers.

  • Comment number 55.

    @50 Jake and Eddie are recruited exclusively for the 'live' races on the BBC. I too noticed that Brundle and Croft called the Vettel incident correctly as opposed to Edwards and Coulthard. Indeed I've noticed several times this season that Brundle and Crofty make more right calls than the BBC pairing. That said, I do like David, I think he's knowledgeable but Ben Edwards tends to commentate 'romantically' rather than 'analytically.' The Beeb would have been better off recruiting Will Buxton, he doesn't even need a co-commentator.

  • Comment number 56.

    @52 I agree, just a thank you to the fans from the podium then the normal post race interview.

  • Comment number 57.

    @53

    to paraphrase Oddz @51;

    "and they say there is no Button haters!!
    ohh wow, just wow

  • Comment number 58.

    @52 I think the podium interviews would be better if they were conducted by a bonfide journalist as opposed to former racing idols.

  • Comment number 59.

    @55

    I think generally that DC is an excellent commentator with some astute observations, but he called it wrong today with the Vettel overtake.

    Ben Edwards just grates, always has, always will.

  • Comment number 60.

    I can't understand why people can't admire or like both lewis and Jenson. It like twilight tweenies but with Team Lewis and Team Jenson. Both have their qualities and both have their flaws. But every blog is turned into LH vs JB. I suppose this is played up by the British Media as it gets people reading papers and blogs such at these lol. But why so much hate people? Lol

  • Comment number 61.

    @50 got to disagree, whenever the BBC use Lee McKenzie, Gary Anderson and DC in their highlights, their F1 discussions and analysis seems so much more credible because you know it is people that live motorsport without an agenda. Better than than with Jake "Ipad Olympics Too Much Mentioning THEE BBC Is Annoying CBeebies Nonsense Tweeter" Humphrey or Eddie "transparently biased mostly wrong Rod Stewart Wannabe" Jordan.

    Perhaps Jake couldn't make it as he's learning the difference between gold and bronze with old colleague Mr Maker and EJ is off hangliding, not with a glider just his shirt collars.

    Coverage was good aside from the joke that the BBC aren't showing it live, Ben Edwards is improving as well! Saw McNish on Sky Friday and Sat and he was very good, far better than Damon and Johnny were, but crazy amount of adverts.

  • Comment number 62.

    Kudos to Alonso! I am not a fan of his but he's been winning me over this season! If one of the Mclaren boys don't win it then I really hope you win the championshiop Fernando!

  • Comment number 63.

    I dont hate Hamilton 50, but ive no respect for the numerous rule breakings of Hamilton. Today was another example of bad sportsmanship, medling with the race of the leaders while he was P24.

    Is it legal to unlap yourself? Sure. Is it legal to help your teammate out? Sure.

    But Hamilton fiddled with the race at the front, and that destroyed the integrity of the race for fans, which is for me, a strong basis for unsportsmanlike behavior.

    Funny that Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert, both former race stewards, as well as Andrew Benson never touched on that, but had a mouth full of Vettels crime.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ 60

    Completely agree with you there. they both have their pros and cons. Just leave it at that

    @ 57
    :)

  • Comment number 65.

    How was it a crime??

  • Comment number 66.

    sorry last post was for mr Boristhegreek

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    He had the faster car so he overtook Vettel. There is no rule break in that.
    What did you want him to do, race at their pace just to keep you happy?!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    A race for the lead was on between Alonso and Vettel - and Hamilton took that away from the fans so that he could move from P24-1L to P24.

    Not only that - but he then parked his backmarker butt in between the drivers causing streams of dirty air to further affect Vettel and ensure that we would not get our race for the lead back at all.

    It was quite clear from the interview with Hamilton that he knew exactly what he was doing.

    Obviously Whitmarsh, Herbert, Hill, Brundle find
    it perfectly acceptable, very sad.

  • Comment number 70.

    I dont get all the argument over the Lewis and Sebastian saga!!! Anyone can unlap themselves if they have a powerful enough car and they have the desire to do so surely

  • Comment number 71.

    Fangio, Clark,Senna,Moss,Stewart...that leaves Prost, Schumacher, Lauda, Alonso and Vettel....

    I'd put Alonso above Schumacher for oh so many reasons and give Prost a run for his money...7th (at the moment...) ;)

  • Comment number 72.

    Fact: Vettel overtook Button with all four wheels off the road. Fact: Hamilton did the same to Rosberg in Bahrain. End result quite different. Also,Why didn't the Stewards if that had a problem with the overtake do the usual and inform the team of the potential issue rather than wait until after the race? Two sets of rules?

    Similarly, in Barcelona Vettel gets a drive through for having his DRS open, while in Barcelona Schumacher gets off free for the same infraction. Once again two sets of rules for the same infraction.
    While Hamilton did nothing wrong trying to back up Vettel in favour of Button, as admitted by Whitmarsh, it was still not very sporting that a lapped driver would interfere in the race of the front runners. I'm sure if the Ferrari or Redbull would do the same the British press would cry foul and rightly so. Unfortunately for Lewis, what goes around comes around and when it happens to him some time in the future he'll show less frustration and accept it like a man.

  • Comment number 73.

    Guys, interesting race, but when you have a 90 minute highlights show, could we maybe get more of the race and less of the chit-chat? You squeezed 91 minutes of racing down to 45 minutes, so we lost half the race, but with the time slot you had available, you could have cut all of the analyses and talking before and after the race, and actually shown us almost all of the actual race itself.

    And it's the race we really want to see. The other stuff is good. But we'd rather see more of the actual racing please. Thanks.

  • Comment number 74.

    Well everyone finds it acceptable apart from you!!
    i still don't understand your objection to Hamilton unlapping himself. He had the faster car in that particular part of the race. surely you are not suggesting even with the faster car, he should have slowed down and let himself be lapped just to appease the race leaders??!!
    if anything, he made the race that much more entertaining
    Also i reckon there is no driver on that grid in hamilton position that wouldn't have done exactly what he did

  • Comment number 75.

    does anyone know that alonso looks like a young jerry seinfeld. thought he drove for porsche

  • Comment number 76.

    .WE MADE YOU AND WE CAN BREAK YOU is what mclaren is saying to lewis even ron dennis is on board now
    ________________________________

    quite true im starting to think ron is actually behind all that... but i will reserve judgement till the end of the contract negotiations....

  • Comment number 77.

    @42, because he has to so its not so evident to the world of how much better lewis is than Jenson. (all proper motor heads know this regardless) and even Jenson himself! Basically everyone knows Jenson is a nice guy,which plays into his hands, by that I mean, his character provides him with sub-concious favours from others on and off the track. (off the tack prime example is the favouritism Benson has for him). Also McLaren are known for there "we have no number one driver" attitude.

    If lewis and Jenson were at Ferrari you would probably see a similar pattern emerge to that of Fernando and Felipe. Ferrari are notoriously known for sticking to a 'number one driver' policy, which in hand enables them to boost and support one driver over the other and in turn have a better chance of winning the championship.

  • Comment number 78.

    Fact: Vettel overtook Button with all four wheels off the road. Fact: Hamilton did the same to Rosberg in Bahrain. End result quite different. Also,Why didn't the Stewards if that had a problem with the overtake do the usual and inform the team of the potential issue rather than wait until after the race? Two sets of rules?
    ---------------------------

    Didn't Vettel also pass someone completely off the track in Australia??
    Could be last year though but i seem to remember him doing it also and not get penalised so get off your high horse there.

  • Comment number 79.

    At the end of the 2010 German Grand Prix, Hamilton was leading, 21pts ahead of Vettel in 4th.
    Hamilton ended that season 16pts behind Vettel who won the WDC.
    Thats a swing of 37pts.

    This year, Hamilton was 2pts ahead of Alonso after Canada. And now after Germany, Alonso is 62pts ahead. A swing of 64pts in 3 races. Anything can happen

    That being said, Ferrari must be pretty happy half way through and leading. Vettel and Webber don't appear to have the consistency of Alonso, even if they may have the faster car.

    It seems like the winner this year will be whoever makes the least mistakes.

  • Comment number 80.

    The difference between Hamilton passing Rosberg off the track and Vettel passing button is that Rosberg and Hamilton were on a straight going at high speed and Rosberg turned unexpectedly and abruptly into Hamilton's racing line. Lewis had no choice but to go off the track to prevent a very serious accident and the stewards took that view. You've also got to be mindful that there's no 'one-penalty-fits-all' infractions. Each incident has to be judged on it's own merits and it's up to the stewards to interpret each incident according to the mitigation. Evidently today, Sebastian's mitigation wasn't accepted and he got the penalty.

  • Comment number 81.

    Yes Alonso is joining the greats of F1
    His allround abilities make him the best driver at the moment.
    Unflappable!

  • Comment number 82.

    Surely Vettel was just trying not to do a Maldonado?

    Andrew Benson I'm not a Button Hater and I enjoy your articles but Vettel did not call Hamilton stupid.

  • Comment number 83.

    I tend to read (or rather, skim due to too much bickering on the basis of bias) instead of post; but given we are talking about Walker's 20 greatest champions (note, champions and not just drivers...else we would have Moss near the top as well)...and I've been thinking of the top.

    I'd like to see where murray puts Vettel, but I think he's been pretty astute in where he put Hamilton...yet I get the impression Murray is a bit starry eyed with Vettel.

    But with respect to Alonso, I think Murray has always regarded him very highly and has certainly showered him with praise this year (as I guess everyone has).

    I don't see why Alonso needs to be behind Stewart and Lauda just because they have 3 titles...a whole bunch of drivers have 3 titles (http://f1-facts.com/statistics/drivers/championship)

    But there may be a crude case to suggest that since Alonso hasn't won 3 titles yet, he may be put behind them, and I see that as a tad unfair.

    He has proved himself against a very strong group over two generations - firstly in the Schumacher/Raikkonen years; and now in a very tight field with an under-par car over 2008-2012 - with only short bursts of car speed.

    So in my opinion, I would say Alonso in the top 5; and I wouldn't begrudge if he was put behind Prost to go as no4, but IMO it is:

    Senna
    Schumacher
    = Alonso
    Fangio
    Prost

    Maybe Fangio should be higher; and we can't have an equal for Schumi and Alonso; so I'd controversially put Alonso edged ahead of Schumi - Alonso's just more in control under pressure; and never played any dirty tricks...the only thing he ever did (and even then I have my reservations about) was block Hamilton in the pitlane - and 2007 was a turbulent season he seems to have matured from.

    A lot more to come from Alonso; this championship or otherwise, he's more than earned it.

  • Comment number 84.

    @72 the difference is the rule has been changed. There was a rule change from Charlie Whiting before the Silverstone grand prix, so therefore has been in effect since then. Also there is a rule saying that any incident that happens within the last 5 laps will be judged after the race or words to that effect. Well that is what Martin Brundle was saying anyway.
    My view on it is this, if the FIA got rid of all these run of strips and put gravel traps at the run off at turn 6 and at turn 1 too we wouldn't even be having these discussions. Simple solution really, and on other tracks too.

  • Comment number 85.

    Congratulations to Alonso for another good drive. I say only good because it was nothing special for a driver of his caliber (who I now firmly believe to be an all time great). This season we are witnessing what a great driver can do when he is at the peak of his career. And we are also seeing that while Vettel is still a very good driver, he is not the finished article yet. He has got time on his side though.

    I also found it odd that neither Rosberg nor Hamilton got penalties for their little adventures of blocking/overtaking off the track in Bahrain. But, that however does not give Vettel any right to do the same. The penalty for Vettel seems a bit harsh but let's hope he will learn from it. I think both Vettel and Horner said they accept the penalty even if they don't necessarily agree with it so fair play in the end.

  • Comment number 86.

    Andrew Benson Wrote
    After standing on his Ferrari's nose to milk the applause, Alonso turned to Button and said: "You couldn't beat me?" He then pointed to Vettel and said: "He couldn't either."
    ================================================================
    I am pretty sure i am not the only one who clearly heard Jenson Button begin the exchange by saying to Fernando Alonso "I just couldn't catch you" to which Alonso replied "You couldn't catch me.....no" to which Button replied "he couldnt catch you either" and then Alonso pointing to Vettel "you couldn't catch me either....no" to which vettel nodded his head. You turned a perfectly innocent conversation on Alonso's part into him having a cheap shot at Button and Vettel, Poor journalism from Benson again.

  • Comment number 87.

    I am mystified why Red Bull didn't give Vettel a clear instruction to cede the position. There were still 2 laps to go and chances to make another pass. Why was it not clear to them, as it was to everyone else watching, that the move was illegal and that not ceding would potentially earn a far more damaging penalty.
    In my view this was a case of sheer arrogance, or stupidity, or both - on behalf of the team.
    As to Vettel's ludicrous accusations against Hamilton, what can you say ? Since when have the rules stated you can't unlap yourself ? Did he do so dangerously ? Did he not then pull away ? Vettel won't win friends (or anything else) with that sort of petulant attitude.
    Last word should be for Alonso, who is simply awesome at the moment - as close to all round perfection as I've seen from any driver in years. Its not that he's dominant - the car won't let him be - but the way he maximises every single aspect of the car, tactics, racecraft, and pure balls-out driving to his advantage and his opponents' detriment. The complete F1 driver.

  • Comment number 88.

    @69 ; its a "team" sport too mate - and believe it or not sometimes teammates actually do help each other out and thereby help the team.

  • Comment number 89.

    Borristhegreek
    It shows your blatant disrespect for the truth and exposes your hatred of Hamilton.... WHY?....
    If you are a genuine fan you would know that all drivers are managed on track during the race and he was merely carrying out orders from his team to pass Vettel...
    But then again why am I telling you this ,
    If you go back a few races Smadley was heard instructing Massa to ruine Hamiltons race .....
    If you dont like Hamilton dont hide behind a computer go to a forum and tell him because all he is doing is what the others drivers are doing just their job!
    SHAME ON YOU !!!!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    Boristhegreek is one of the funniest haters to read, no problems with "Fernando is faster than you" team orders but when Hamilton overtakes Vettel to help Button (and by the way : there goes your argument that he doesn't ever race for his team), then he's a bugger who ruined the race for the fans. Boris, he didn't ruin anything, he just ruined your foul soul. F1's most fundamental rule is that if you're faster than the car in front and can overtake, do it. I hope Hamilton has some more fight left in him to go against his rivals and possibly his own incompetent team.

    Alonso, what is there to say ? Ferrari tailor-made the car for him and he's just beating everything in sight. It helps that no other team as a clue of how to be faster in the rain but no rule in F1 prevents a fast driver to not go faster than his peers. So much for the BIG upgrade ML brought, they sure made the car faster in the rain yeah. And no : that wasn't race-winning pace, since the ML finished 2nd after Vettel's penalty. And the 2.4s on Button's pit-stop ? That wasn't ML's pit-crew. Impossible. That same pit-crew couldn't get a stop right for their other driver all season.

    RB will win the constructors championship but Alonso will take the drivers' championship, and both rightfully so. ML will be nowhere, and Hamilton will hopefully leave for a team that can make an actual car that he can just race with. I'm hoping for a predictable and controlled finish from Alonso, some more sulking from Vettel and Webber running Alonso close. ML will keep screwing Hamilton one way or another anyway, it seems to be their latest hobby.

  • Comment number 91.

    @90

    I'm curious, who did they get to do Jenson's 2.4 second stop then, the Ferrari pit crew?

  • Comment number 92.

    I'm curious to know how Lewis managed to run at a faster pace than the leaders mid-race in a car that he wanted to retire in immediately after his puncture & pit stop due to handling issues & it being unsafe to drive in his opinion?

  • Comment number 93.

    @yellowbelly : That's more likely than the ML pitcrew actually doing something right, it just feels so out of the ordinary. But then again, Hamilton was having the stinker race everyone wanted him to have so that was probably the tonic the ML pitcrew needed.

  • Comment number 94.

    What a superstar Alonso is. Time and again he proves that despite having a slower car, he's able to get 110% from it. Another great drive. Surely on course to be one of the greatest ever to be compared with schuey (the man he effectively reitred), prost and senna?

  • Comment number 95.

    @Boristhegeek,

    What rule-breaking, seriously? There is no rule stopping drivers form unlapping themselves (as Horner admitted after the race during his near-rant against Hamilton).

    It was Vettel who came unstuck and unsporting - TWICE - not Lewis unlapping himself. And those two occasions - His little fit after Lewis unlapped himself, and his "I only went off the track to avoid an accident", when he knew the rules said that meant he couldn't take the place yet (yes, courtesy of a certain spa race. Thanks for recognising that cutting chicanes/corners isn't the only way to gain and advantage going off track)!

    I would point out, Hamilton went after Alonso, who did to Hamilton what he'd been doing to Vettel all race - staying just far enough ahead to stop any chance at losing the place.

    Alonso was class. He'd already decided (according to himself post-race) that if Hamilton had got close enough and made a move, he wouldn't fight it, but until then, he adopted the 'keep out of DRS' tactic, which worked well.

    Boris, I don't know where your bias comes from (and yes, it is bias, most of the stuff you claim about LH/MacLaren is simply wrong) but I'm glad some people here are getting amusement out of it.

    @yellowbelly, I think they weren't sure of the damage. MacLaren did say they were looking at the telemetry and didn't want to retire unless they really had to. They probably needed him to 'go for it' to see the damage (which I think was to the gearbox? not sure...)

  • Comment number 96.

    Martin Whitmarsh is a really nice guy, a gentleman, but he has, and continues to prove an abject failure as team boss. He has to go, sooner rather than later. Or Lewis will.

  • Comment number 97.

    And the winner is ENGINE MAP.What a interested race with a great Fernando and a very good Jenson.But the rest is a bit disappointed as they are back in Silverstone 2011 concerning Software used in F1.And you will be never able to write anything about Software into regulations.So a very tricky season for the stewarts ahead.
    Penalty for Sebastian was correct even 20 sec was a bit harsh.Unfortunately Lewis
    overtaking of Seb will hunt him later in the season.So he should not be surprised that in a later race when hunting for a race-lead passing backmarkers ( particulary
    Torro Rosso s one ) is not that straightforward anylonger

  • Comment number 98.

    Totally agree - I've been following these blogs for a while but this is 1st time I've posted. The Jenson bias is extraordinary. Not just on this blog. I also thing Lewis is ill-fitted to McLaren (although it is ironic that they managed to put together excellent pit stops for Jensen, something they utterly failed to do with Hamilton for the bulk of this yr:-)!).

  • Comment number 99.

    Another class drive from Alonso, really is outperforming the car and dragging it round to another win, amazed that he is topping the standings after the car that he started the season in. Nice to see Jenson putting in a decent drive, badly needed a performance after his run of bad form.

    Even though a penalty for Seb was the correct decision, it was a tad harsh that the places weren't simply reversed.

    (Can the BBC make Gary Anderson wear suit pants, he looks unsightly)

  • Comment number 100.

    Alonso is clearly a great driver. Possibly the best currently racing.

    However, I think the idea that the Ferrari is slow is nonsense. It wasn't great at the start of the season but they seem to have got the car working better with the new tyres than some of the other cars - particularly McLaren in terms of the front-runners.

    It's probably not quite as good as the Red Bull and it appears that the McLaren has improved too but it's probably more true to say that Massa has really struggled since his crash and subsequent recovery and may never be the same driver again. That has given the illusion that the Ferrari is slow. I think Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Webber or any number of other quick drivers would be much closer to Alonso.

    I don't think we can take any credit away from Alonso, however; had he been in the Red Bull he could possibly have had more than three victories this season.

 

Page 1 of 3

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.