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New season providing memories to savour

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Jake Humphrey | 20:40 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

I'm sitting on the plane that is bringing me home from the opening trio of races, and I'm reminiscing.

I'm not daydreaming about the first time we heard the engines roar for 2011 in Albert Park, Sebastian Vettel's dominant start to the season, Vitaly Petrov flying or Lewis Hamilton's slow, steady reeling-in of Vettel this weekend.

Nope, I've gone a little further back: I'm re-living 1995. Trawling through the plane's CD library I've stumbled upon the breakthrough album Different Class by Pulp. It reminds me of my mum's pistachio green VW Polo, studying for my A-levels, David Coulthard's first Formula 1 win and me, at 17, thinking the world started and stopped at the Norfolk county border!

However, one thing slightly tainting the fun of air-drumming to Common People is that I've just realised Vettel would have been seven years old at that time. Ouch!

OK, I'm going to park memories of my oversized The Sweater Shop jumper - which was a must-have item for a lanky lad in Norwich in the mid-90s - and cast my mind back to the more recent memory of two races that have set the benchmark for the 2011 season.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory at the Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory at the Chinese Grand Prix. Photo: Getty Images

To be totally honest, I think that, while we all enjoyed the opening round in Australia, it disguised just how frenetic this year is likely to be. I was chatting to some guys in the paddock on Sunday who were speculating that if that race was run again tomorrow, Pirelli would bring the even more marginal Supersoft tyre to Australia.

I think that is an indication of the success of having these new tyres. As DC said at the end of the commentary on Sunday: "Thank you Pirelli".

While I agree with that sentiment, I think we should be thanking F1. I've been sharing this flight with the likes of Ross Brawn of Mercedes, Williams designer Sam Michael and Paul Di Resta, who has been mightily impressive for Force India. Those three guys, and the rest of the designers, technicians, drivers and team principles up and down the pit lane, want cars that are fast in every circumstance.

The drivers ask for consistency and reliability, while the manufacturers want something that is so quick it helps shift their road cars. However, they have agreed to totally compromise their work for the sake of you guys sitting at home.

To improve the show. Vettel didn't want a car that simply "dropped off a cliff" as its tyres were worn at the end of Sunday's race. The strategists aren't keen on the pit wall resembling Air Traffic Control as they desperately try to outwit their opponents and make themselves look clever, and team bosses don't want to have to defend strategic mistakes after every race.

Look back to 12 months ago in Bahrain. Hardly an overtake, and most cars stopping once. This year the sport is totally unrecognisable, and it makes for compelling TV.

I don't envy the boys having to call such frenetic racing in the commentary box but I think they're doing well. Particularly DC, whose experience, knowledge, eagle-eyes and quick wit have surprised even me.

As for Martin Brundle, he's welcome to have his grid walk back! Logistically, it was impossible for him to do it in China so I bravely took on the challenge. But I have enough to think about doing 60 minutes of live TV pre-race, with stories developing around me, and I really didn't like having to doorstep the drivers. It felt a bit like walking into your office and shoving a microphone under your nose as you sit at your desk.

Martin has done more than 200 of them whereas Sunday was, believe it or not, the first time I've been on the grid pre-race. I'm just happy to have survived interviewing a seven-time world champion despite DC totally abandoning me!

After I'd finished that, it was time for the racing. Almost 60 stops in Malaysia, a further 55 in China. And amongst it all a chance to look like a real hero. McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh told me on the pit wall after the race that his team had actually got their strategy wrong and wanted to do only two stops.

Yet, while Vettel demonstrated that, even with his skills it was impossible to make such a tactic work, Hamilton and Mark Webber made a stop more and it paid dividends. In fact, the success of the tyres has totally overshadowed the introduction of DRS (Drag Reduction System) and re-introduction of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System).

It is clear the FIA is still fiddling with the DRS rear wing to encourage overtaking. I don't find it artificial as it still takes skill to make a move stick. What I think we need to avoid is drivers overtaking in only one place, following their rival and not making a move until they can use their DRS advantage. We may also see two zones in Turkey.

You couldn't accuse Lewis of lacking ambition when overtaking though, could you? I was watching the race unfold in the McLaren hospitality area and while everyone was leaping around, hands on heads, almost unable to believe what was happening, the messages coming in thick and fast on Twitter were almost identical.

A good example of the power of Twitter was someone tweeting me a photo of Fernando Alonso's DRS operating outside the prescribed zone. I told the producer what I'd seen and the guys in VT called up the same clip and played it to the nation while Martin and David commented on it.

Anyway, the Pulp album has now rolled around to Monday Morning so I'm going to return to the 90s and leave you guys to a lovely shortened working week. We've stacks of stuff planned for a few weeks' time when we get to Turkey.

Thanks for setting your alarms in your droves the past month - it's good to know that plenty of you were watching as we marched around the pit lane and paddock. Below are my five favourite moments of the season so far - here's hoping for plenty more until 27 November!

1. Lewis's interview in the garage after his first win of the season. He was as open, honest and relaxed as I've ever seen him. I was blown away by the clarity of thought that he described as he closed in on Sebastian.

2. Petrov''s podium. What a car Renault have produced this year, and how cool was Vitaly in Australia? The first ever Russian podium in F1 and a great reward for the team's faith in him.

3. Eddie Jordan totally forgetting his question to Jenson Button on the F1 Forum in Malaysia. Thankfully DC stepped in as JB and I were both corpsing at that moment. Classic EJ and I missed him in China.

4. The RB7. Adrian Newey is an enigmatic individual who seems to have a God-given ability to design the most incredible racing cars - Williams, McLaren, Red Bull. They must all be so grateful they could afford him.

5. The racing. Paul Di Resta beating his classy team-mate Adrian Sutil, Felipe Massa beating Fernando Alonso, Vettel's dominance, Webber's doggedness, Team Lotus mixing it with the midfield and Kamui Kobayashi's racing instinct. Bodes well for the next seven months, eh?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Great blog as ever Jake.
    This season is really beginning to look like it could be the best ever. I've been watching Formula 1 since 1996 and Sunday's race was the best dry race i've seen to date.
    Im really looking forward to see how things will unfold in Turkey. It has to be the best Tilke track and always produces good races. with Pirelli thrown into the mix it could be the best dry race since China.

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Great blog. Not only are we getting great races, I believe we now have the best BBC line up ever. Loved your chat with Michael Schumacher on the grid and DC cringing in the background :-)

  • Comment number 4.

    great blog and coverage this year as usual (which i believe to be best in world), also why didn't EJ travel to shanghai

  • Comment number 5.

    Nice blog, but I think the racing this season... Whilst entertaining, is removing the physical driving element from the 'game'.
    I am not a fan of DRS. I think it's proving to be a means for 'decent' teams who qualify badly to leapfrog 'lesser' teams who qualify well. It's effectively making qualifying, as a means to gain an advantage, redundant. Everyone is praising Webber's drive from 18th on the grid, and Schumacher's 14th to 8th..... But the reality is that overtaking should be a fundamental skill, and not a result of having an artificial speed advantage.
    I thought it was telling in the race that Martin and Dave were commenting on the grip and acceleration the Renaults had out of corners, and their application of KERS... Only to see them eaten alive at the end of the straight after some excellent pit-stops gained them places over their rivals..... I mean, it doesn't make sense to me, to sacrifice the driving element for purely entertainment reasons. If I had my way, they'd ban all aerodynamic 'ground effect' wings etc, and place the emphasis on engines, tyres and driver skill.

  • Comment number 6.

    A great race, but not that long ago in the sport(80s/90s), 2 vs 3 stop strategy races were common place and with that more great racing.

    I am glad it has returned, but I don't think it is new or a revolution, just finally fixed from the crap Bridgestone gave us. And if they didn't introduce that rule for must use both compounds we would have had plenty of zero stops all season long with next to no overtaking as hardly any factors to alter car speeds relative to each other.

    I do feel DRS is unnecessary with Kers + Pirelli.

    I don't think DRS is natural. It is far to regulated. If we reversed how DRS worked, i.e. it partially applied the brakes of the car in front rather than accelerated the car behind, I don't think any one would like it, yet between those 2 cars it would have the same effect of creating a 15-20kph speed difference.

    It is not the same as the turbo era as Coulthard likes to try and say, in the turbo era, you did not have to be within 1 second of the car in front at a specific line on the track then could only use the boost for a prescribed number of meters between 2 fixed lines, while the car in front is unallowed to use their turbo....that is the difference. People don't call it artificial due to a push to pass, it is artificial because of all of the above. Turbos worked naturally, both drivers could increase boost any where for as long as they wanted, but with the disadvantage of fuel consumption, either meaning more stops(when you had fuelling), or longer periods on lower boost with economic driving, going slower to counter their boosted period.

    DRS would perhaps be more interesting and natural, if the drivers could only engage DRS for 60 seconds in the entire race distance, and it was up to them when they spent it and for how long each time. The number of seconds can be adjusted. Then it would be more like turbo. You would have the case of the driver who used it all up to get to first, then struggling to defend first against drivers who were more cautious with it. A lot more interesting too.

    So I am not saying get rid of the Drag Reduction System. Just saying it should be such a 1 way thing for the driver behind at 1 point of the circuit given certain conditions at an earlier point. It should be a limited resource the drivers have to manage, like tyres/fuel and the rest of it. Also I would like to see the BHP limit removed from Kers, and the same with the duration, then you wouldn't get teams being iffy about how much consideration they give it. And it may lead to improvements in energy recovery and reuse systems for road vehicles.

  • Comment number 7.

    "should" should read "shouldn't" in last para, along with a pile of other typos.

  • Comment number 8.

    Good season so far, am really enjoying the coverage and its great to hear the chemistry between DC and Martin they are jelling together really well already.

    Any idea on how long it was before Petrov put down his trophy? It was great to see him being so ecastic over it, hope he achieves many more.

  • Comment number 9.

    Just a point...

    Didn't the viewer count jump from 2 million to 5 million for a similar time in the morning in the last month....now I do wonder if that is more related to the London Marathon than a sudden influx of people wanting to watch Vettel stomp home to another easy victory which is all the quali suggested.

    My bet is on London Marathon, a lot of people will have tuned in early to catch that.

    Also these viewer numbers are guestimates based on BARBs system of pay households(5100) that fit stereotypes 100 pound a year then extrapolate a makey up figure from that. Yes I am sure that monitoring the type of people that wish to be monitored, will represent us ALL. Remembering also that these people have to enter their name in the system each time they watch a program...yes these are typical people.

  • Comment number 10.

    Congratulations to the BBC F1 team on an entertaining and informative format. F1 in HD on a 106" screen has never looked so good!

    Quick question about the drivers initials used in the presentation of positions in the race:- all the drivers names are represented by the first three letters of their surname, with one exception. Michael Schumacher. As there are no other drivers names starting "SCH" there isn't a need to distinguish MSC from AnotherSC. Why is Herr Schumachers initials MSC and not SCH?

  • Comment number 11.

    Just to extend the number point in post 9.

    Are we really expected to believe that we went from 2 million to 3 million from first race to second, a 50% increase in viewers, when typically the first race is "the one to watch".

    We could try and excuse the first one as being time in the morning.

    Then we have to accept a difference of 3 million to 5 million, for 2 races at the same time in the morning, as 66% increase in viewers.....wow viewers must grow on trees. I think one puts too much emphasis on these numbers.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great job by the whole team, including the 5Live lot. Good to see more of Brundle in the pitlane in the absence of Eddie.

    Only criticism is on the forum when you were interviewing Lewis, you seemed overly fond of the sound of your own voice, instead of letting the 2 ex-GP drivers ask the questions and then you kept butting in for no good reason. Something to work on there.

    The Forum is for us more avid fans, so it makes sense to let the more knowledgeable pundits lead the interview at times.

  • Comment number 13.

    Jake you machine, another awesome blog. Keep it up :)

  • Comment number 14.

    EJ's absence was definitely felt this week wasn't it? Did anyone else notice DC freeze up a couple of times over the course of the race show and the forum?

    Probably one of the most exciting races I've seen and I'm sure we can look forward to similar ones later this season.

    Jake, it was disappointing that you didn't take the opportunity this week to quiz Martin Whitmarsh on his comments made after the Australian GP when he claimed nobody in the entire McLaren team had seen Button's pass on Massa which led to a drive-through penalty.

    Are McLaren's PR people pulling the BBC's strings? Why wouldn't you push him on this point? You already know he didn't answer you when you asked him the question directly.

    Why on earth would the BBC shy away from asking the tough questions??

  • Comment number 15.

    i just hate it when ppl say i have been following the sports since 1970,80,90 etc.seriously who really gives a damn and it doesn't make it you an expert.i didn't really read anything to justify me paying tv licence.enough said,i'm off back to my black hole

  • Comment number 16.

    10. At 00:32am 19th Apr 2011, BobC_Lancs wrote:

    Even though Ralph isn't in F1 anymore and there is no reason for Michael to need the MSC abbreviation, it leads me to believe that either
    A. once your three letter timing screen abbreviation is determined by the FIA or F1 at the start of your career you can't change it.
    Or B it's a superstition he has or just a preference like keeping the red helmet.

  • Comment number 17.

    Thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed that race. I've only been following F1 as long as it has been back on the BBC. I really can't imagine the frustration I would have had in the ITV days. I dread to think where they would have stuck the mid-race adverts.

  • Comment number 18.

    Contemplate this Mr Humphrey's....

    Next race, Turkish Grand Prix, Webber (due to his comments after 3rd in China & his performance, of course) deliberately stays in Qualy 2 having got there on prime tyres (assuming his KERS is working & his tyres have been properly heated by the team). Then, with a full set of new options he repeats what he did in China... but this time winning the race (easily) - having less to do due to starting further up the grid.

    Now then, on to the following race. More teams now want to try this... & then more... & more

    Eventually qualifying becomes a shambles, nobody wants to be on pole.

    The only way to stop it?

    Strengthen the compound of the tyres so they last longer.

    You read it here first. ;-)

  • Comment number 19.

    @18, no we read it post 182 on Andrews blog first. It is copied and pasted here and just as stupid.

    Lets say all teams did this. Then they would still be competing for pole just on a harder compound, the competition for pole would be the same as there is no advantage not to be on pole, so silly idea is silly. It wouldn't break F1 to the point of requesting harder tyres to fix qualifying. However it is VERY unlikely to happen.

    And this you read here first. Not in a previous blog, copy + pasted to get attention.

  • Comment number 20.

    @6 Lyla, brilliant idea for the DRS - drivers have to decide whether to use it to attack or defend, much more natural. We should put Bernie out to grass and you take his job. If that happens on the strength of this blog and you get to control the cash, don't forget who recommended you for the job... :)

  • Comment number 21.

    best season my a**. just one victory for the over hyped brit and the whole of uk starts jumping around. vettel will win the championship without breaking a sweat. the amount of hype that the overrated and over hyped brits get is simply ridiculous. wayne rooney, andy murray, lewis hamilton, kevin pietersen are prime examples.

  • Comment number 22.

    There's no doubt that high degradation tyres have improved the spectacle, and created a sort of chaos until the teams understand the tyres precisely, but is it genuine racing? As good as McLaren's win was in China, it was achieved by a lucky strategic call, and the prowess of Lewis Hamilton. Sooner or later the teams will wise up to exactly how the tyes work, and then it will be impossible for drivers no mattter how good to win against a car that is at the front. The reason being that these tyres actually stymie cars from being pushed really hard by drivers with the talent because this will accelerate tyre wear even more, and eliminate any latitude present when using more durable tyres. In other words it is not a race, but a tyre management contest. If the cars cannot be pushed to the limit it is not true aggressive racing, but a manipulation by the powers that be simply to make good television.

  • Comment number 23.

    Good blog.In Singapore on biz so watched a competing channel !!!! apart from (maybe 6?) commercial breaks it was poor. "you won't miss a thing"...Wrong ! I missed loads, so back to UK for Turkey GP. I think tyre rules could prove self defeating, whilst making quali less important (great drive from Webber). Maybe should award points for taking pole which is threatened with devaluation. F 1 is about the fastest car ... not the best tyre strategy. Surely its all about the race !

  • Comment number 24.

    As always Jake, fantastic job - best BBC sports presenter around at the moment!

    I think the best solution though is surely to just delegate and have DC go out and do the grid walk himself - I've always thought the 2 man grid walk never really works as well as it does with just one person. Good luck doing the 2 man one in Monaco for example!

    I think what helped so much when Martin used to do it (at least originally) was that he had raced against so many of the drivers that it was easier for him to grab a word/jump in their face with the microphone - if you're going to get landed with the grid walk though then you definitely have to develop the brass neck that Martin used to have when he'd rudely interrupt Sky Deutschland etc!

  • Comment number 25.

    Excellent blog as usual, Jake. . about an excellent F1 weekend. Loved every minute. . (& I watched every minute, , even the Practices on the Red Button!) But especially the "Lewis Hamilton Wins" bit. .

  • Comment number 26.

    Do we really want F! racing to be dominated by TYRES - I cannot believe that Pirelli really want to promote tyres that last 10 laps!

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Jake and welcome back to sunny old England!

    First of all we've had 3 races and all have been superbly broadcasted by the BBC and I personally love the sport in HD. Also many congratulations to Martin and DC for their commentary.

    So China. Let’s be honest what a brilliant race that was. I wouldn't say it was Lewis's best ever wins but its possible one of his top 3. For me his best win was at Silverstone in 2008 in the rain. Everyone else had their problems but Lewis kept it together.

    Still Lewis's overtakings were superb and very brave against his team mate Button. Also word has to be said about Webber who up until Sunday was having a weekend to forget. What a drive by Webber to start 18th and finish 3rd - if there were more than the 56 laps he may have won the race!

    Also Alonso's DRS malfunctioned during the China GP but the guy didn't pick up any penalties. Why? Lets me honest if that had been any other driver and any other team they would have felt the full force of the FIA. What is it with Alonso and Ferrari? They do get away with things.

    With an epic Chinese race, it would have been good to hear EJ's thoughts - shame he wasn't able to make it.

    Anyway well done BBC and keep up the good work. It could be another epic season. Just 3 weeks to go until the F1 motorcade enters Europe.

    I so cannot wait until Turkey.

  • Comment number 28.

    Top blogging Jake, thanks.

    I agree with @6 Lyla, up to to a point.... I'd say the DRS system was fine in the middle of the race. My issue comes at the end of the race when it has a greater bearing on the result. This is NOT an excuse for Button being overtaken by Webber at the end. I'm sure that would have happened anyway, but we could at least have had a couple of laps of attack and defence. You then (hopefully!) get something more akin to Hamilton's move on Vettel, an overtake on a different corner of the racetrack!

    The DRS is unavailable for the first two laps, so how about a ban on DRS for the last 5 laps?

  • Comment number 29.

    Jake, many congratulations to you and the whole BBC F1 team. You folks are doing a stellar job and greatly enhancing the show. Brilliant commentary and insights: well done folks and keep it up!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm actually wondering if this whole tyre situation will come back to bite F1 on the behind. Call me old fashioned but I champion skill over strategy any day and to see the likes of Alonso and Vettel, two extraordinary drivers, lose race position/grip because their tyres went off rather than them making errors (although Alonso's starts are horrendous - his achilles heel it seems) isn't really racing.

    The last two races have been very exciting and great entertainment, and the last thing any of us need is RBR domination in the style of Schumi & Ferrari 2000-2004, but I fear the tyre situation will overpower true skill this season.

    I want the 2011 F1 World Champion to be the driver who drives with skill and speed, not the driver whose strategists on the prat perch determine pitstops.

    Is there no happy medium??!!! Will we ever be happy with F1??!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    BBC coverage is first class. Thanks. Loving the racing - it's what F1 should be about, so hope we can minimise the focus on the toys (DRS etc) and test the drivers for what they're supposed to be - the best drivers in motorsport, using the skills they've got to get into F1 in the first place (rather than over paid playstation players).

  • Comment number 32.

    Just to follow on from my last post - yes, I know strategy is a fundamental element of grand prix racing, I just don't want it to be the dominant one

  • Comment number 33.

    I thought after the first 2 races that the new rules and tyres where not going to make any difference, How wrong was I, what a race, I just hope its a sign of things to come.

  • Comment number 34.

    More excitement, yes. More overtaking, apparently yes. Good and interesting coverage from the BBC, yes. Races still being won and lost during pit stops instead of on-track ability, yes.

    I'm really trying to like F1 as the powers that be seem to be more committed to producing a good spectator sport than many other sports. Credit where it's due. I just can't get passed the fact that the track isn't where the action happens all of the time.

    Please, before the fans on this forum jump down my throat, I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy F1 for what it is; a high speed mixture of chess and horsepower. Personally, I just prefer to see shorter format races so the action takes place on track. If I want to watch tactics and not just car/driver combinations win, I will watch Le Mans.

    BTCC, MotoGP, Superbikes all see drivers and riders having to go hell for leather from start to finish. No million-pound aerodynamic packages, unpredictability amongst the vehicles and therefore better on-track racing. Because everything happens on the track.

    Perhaps F1 could have a sprint race and a longer race in one afternoon with no pit stops? Then we'd see who the best drivers are.

    I don't think I'm missing the point. just expressing an opinion, that's all.

  • Comment number 35.

    People comment that the manufacturers are in F1 to sell cars. I hope Pirelli aren't in F1 to sell tyres! I'd want to buy something that lasted longer than a trip to my local Tesco Express!!

  • Comment number 36.

    @18 I too will be interested to see Quali tactics at Turkey. I suspect the top runners may only do one run in Q3 to keep a new set of options. However as per Webber is P11 now the best place to quali ? Keep 2 new sets of option 1 new prime and pass everybody. The tyres have far more influence on speed / overtaking than KERS or DRS. Not sure what answer is but strategy & pit-stopping is again becoming more important than outright speed & overtaking skill

  • Comment number 37.

    @21
    If you really think Lewis is just another "overhyped brit" as you put it so nicely then you really have no idea about F1 at all. Lewis is a class act through and through and is always proving his critics wrong. He is for me the most exciting driver on the grid. Does he always get it right? No. That is part of racing. At least he is able to pass his team mate without taking himself out of the race...
    If you have nothing pleasant to say about us brits then feel free to take your negative comments elsewhere, as they're certainly not welcome on this forum.

  • Comment number 38.

    @34

    Yes, I agree with you! If I wanted to see a spectacle I'd go to see Cirque du Soleil......

    No, that was harsh, I love exciting races, but I also love to see drivers winning races because they deserved to, not because their tyres were fresher or they had more KERS left.

  • Comment number 39.

    Fantastic blog Jake, you always look incredibly natural in front of the camera, the banter you all have before the race is so organic and it is what makes the F1 Sunday experience! This F1 season has got off to a real bang, already there have been some truly memorable moments. I agree Lewis's interview said so much about who he has become as a person and what we can expect from him this season. I would have added Webbers incredible fight from the back of the pack to my best moments so far. Keep up the good work!!

  • Comment number 40.

    @37

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Just because they might not agree with you it doesn't mean they're wrong

  • Comment number 41.

    Fantastic race and great coverage as always Jake. Have a well deserved break with Harriet! See you in Turkey! Can't wait! :)

  • Comment number 42.

    Why is everyone moaning about the tyres ?

    Its the same for all teams, they all know how long they last, that is why Lewis Hamilton didnt come out for the last quali round.

    If Red Bull wanted to play the two change rule they must have known that Vettel would have to look after his tyres, he didnt because he was pushed. Button couldnt either, and he's prob the best at keeping the rubber going.

    But its still the same for all teams, there will be tactical advantages to be had throughout the season as teams find out the pros and cons for the new tyres and the different surfaces and weather conditions.

    It will still go down to who can drive more skilfully and cleverly who wins the championship in the end.

  • Comment number 43.

    I guess MSC is a throw-back to when baby brother Ralf Schumacher was competing, so SCH would have been ambiguous. Well not THAT ambiguous: the SCH nearest the front would have been MSC!

    One point I would like someone to explain:

    I know that Ferrari was cleared post-race of any misdemeanour with the illegally opening DRS wing on Alonso's car, but why was there no inquiry or penalty into Massa's crossing the white dividing line on exiting the pits? He did it twice to try and get a better run into the first corner. The whole world saw it (it was also replayed in race), but there was no mention of any action being taken. Surely a drive-through penalty would have been correct?

  • Comment number 44.

    Jake - loved you blog as usual and your cool presentation style also continues to impress, but please don't do another grid walk. Martin, having been a driver, knows when he can interrupt and when he can't, you really shouldn't have tried interviewing Vettel as he was preparing to go racing. Nice guy that he is Sebastien didn't tell you where to get off, but I wouldn't have been surprised if he had. If Martin can't do the grid walk then either don't do it at all or get scaredy cat DC to do it!

  • Comment number 45.

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

  • Comment number 46.

    Why is everyone moaning about the tyres ?

    Its the same for all teams, they all know how long they last, that is why Lewis Hamilton didnt come out for the last quali round (or was it practice session?)

    If Red Bull wanted to play the two change rule they must have known that Vettel would have to look after his tyres, he didnt because he was pushed. Button couldnt either, and he's prob the best at keeping the rubber going.

    But its still the same for all teams, there will be tactical advantages to be had throughout the season as teams find out the pros and cons for the new tyres and the different surfaces and weather conditions.

    It will still go down to who can drive more skilfully and cleverly who wins the championship in the end.

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    When people describe DRS as 'artificial' they are missing the point of what it is meant to simulate. It is there to exaggerate the slipstream effect, which is a natural phenomenon, and used to play a major role in overtaking. Once this is in operation around the whole track (using GPS), and variable depending on how close you are to the car in front, then it will be much more natural and easier to understand. One step at a time though.

  • Comment number 49.

    11. At 00:35am 19th Apr 2011, Lyla wrote:
    Just to extend the number point in post 9.

    Are we really expected to believe that we went from 2 million to 3 million from first race to second, a 50% increase in viewers, when typically the first race is "the one to watch".

    We could try and excuse the first one as being time in the morning.

    Then we have to accept a difference of 3 million to 5 million, for 2 races at the same time in the morning, as 66% increase in viewers.....wow viewers must grow on trees. I think one puts too much emphasis on these numbers.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Who cares?

  • Comment number 50.

    Sorry, new to this. Great blog, and love all the presenters for this. Best moment non race related....when DC said about Jenson's warning message from his engineer "the only way that message could've been scarier is if he'd said it in the dark". An entire living room of folk just wet themselves laughing at that. Cheers for great commentary on a fab race.

  • Comment number 51.

    The Times famously described the Malaysian GP as a “circus” due to all the artificial aids to overtake, so I wonder what it made of the circus show that was the Chinese GP.

    Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember Senna & later Mansell charging through the fields to win GP’s with nothing more than their inherent skill and underlying car pace so watching Webber pick off each car as their respective tyres “went off” made it, as Webber himself said in all fairness, very, very artificial.

    Surely I was not alone in being very uncomfortable as overtake after overtake throughout the field was mostly down to the tyres, or Kers or both and very little to do with the best driver winning through. The last overtake by Hamilton on Vettel was a case in point. As Vettel said, as his tyres went off it was just a case of waiting for Hamilton to overtake, as he knew this was inevitable due solely to the state of the tyres. Consequently, there was none of the usual do or die resistance to being overtaken we have come to see from Vettel (or many others apart from Schumaker) as “resistance is futile”.

    Even the qualifying performance and underlying speed of Paul di Resta went unrewarded due to Force India’s chosen tyre strategy.

    I’m not yet sure whether I’ll watch another race, as it will depend what football match is on at the same time.

    Goodbye F1

  • Comment number 52.

    Great Blog. I think that was the first time i've shouted at the telly and been "on the edge of my seat" watching the GP for a long time. Sure there's been exciting bit's here and there but this weekend was FANTASTIC! Roll on Turkey!

  • Comment number 53.

    26. At 08:11am 19th Apr 2011, mgklipper wrote:
    Do we really want F! racing to be dominated by TYRES - I cannot believe that Pirelli really want to promote tyres that last 10 laps!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah, because I'm sure you regularly fit F1 tyres to your road car and I'm sure Pirelli design their road tyres to last for 45 miles before they deteriorate to the point that cars can't stay on the road.

  • Comment number 54.

    @51 .... Good Bye ;)

  • Comment number 55.

    Jake brilliant show as always, but leave the impromptu grid interviews to Martin, please. Annoying Schue is fine but surprising Vettel was just wrong and a bit embarrassing to be honest. Keep up the good work...

  • Comment number 56.

    @43

    I'll try again and see if I can't coat this message in fluffy clouds to appease the over sensitive PC brigade moderating the comments.

    There should be some penalty given to Ferrari for cutting the pit line. As mentioned by one of the commentators during the race "Whats the point of even painting it on if they're allowed to cut it without penalty?"

    I also don't understand how Hamilton got a post race penalty last week for 'swerving', when Alonso hits him. No commentator mentioned anything about it, Alonso himself didn't complain in the post race interview, and Ferrari themselves didn't do the whole 'mention it on the radio to get attention' thing. Yet somehow, the FIA pop up with a penalty in favour of Ferrari.

  • Comment number 57.

    I personally don't see the point in racing cars which have components that slowly disintegrate and thereby reduce overall performance.

    It's a bit like forcing marathon runners to run in wellies for at least 5 miles of the race.

    Maybe next year we'll have jelly rear wings or a mandatory five lap period in a a Citroen 2CV. The year after that they'll go the whole hog and introduce clown cars that eventually blow up in a cloud of smoke and confetti just before the final straight leaving the drivers with a 100 meter sprint in oversized shoes to the chequered flag. Last one there gets a kick in the bum!

    OK so it may lead to a better "spectacle", but this kind of jiggery pokery is what eventually led to the sham "sports-entertainment" that is WWF Wrestling.

  • Comment number 58.

    Enjoyed your blog Jake and great coverage from all the team this weekend. The BBC coverage just keeps getting better and it's great we now have it in HD too.
    The only thing that annoyed me on Sunday was the footage seemed to concentrate on some drivers more than others (like MSC) and we missed some important overtakes and pit stops. I realise these are either controller by either the country running the GP or the FIA but it's quite frustrating. Would be good if they could introduce a mini screen in big screen thing for the stops or something :o)

    Enjoyed your pit walk tho we missed Martin too. Well done for going after schuey though, that was amusing especially when he clearly didn't want to talk! You're too polite for the grid walk though you need to get your elbows in there and barge your way in like Martin does. I love the way he does his grid walk without being intimidated by so called VIP's and other media!

    China was the best race so far, looking forward to Turkey. Hopefully the strategic tyre changes will continue, its pretty dull if the driver on pole just leads the whole race with no challengers. Liking the return of KERS but not convinced by DRS yet. Like a few people have said I'd rather see overtaking happen through driver skill and decent tracks but will see how it progresses.

    Look forward to Turkey in 3 weeks, even missed EJ and his dodgy trousers even though he drives me crazy sometimes. It's a good balance.

  • Comment number 59.

    @43

    Simply.... Anti Hamilton! I'm not a british sour grapes but they are clearly anti this guy. Why? not sure. Maybe there is some underlying reason for it and maybe we'll never know. At least when he does win he probably has to work harder and drive "fairer" than anyone else for it.

  • Comment number 60.

    @56

    ?????

    And Alonso was penalised too, it's just that he was so much quicker in the race than those behind him that the penalty was nullified!

    And as for favouring Ferrari?? Hamilton.....safety car.......Alonso........cast your mind back and look at 2010, I seem to recall Ferrari having anything but favouritism from the stewards.

    The FIA is no longer for Ferrari, and it hasn't been for a very long time.

  • Comment number 61.

    loving the excitment, but effectively the DRS is like some sort of catch-up setting that you get on Mario Cart.

    Effectively the guy who leads is caught up by others who can take advantage of greater speed from using the DRS.

    Vettel, for example, who always loves setting the fastest lap will have no chance if he is leading because cars behind can use the DRS and gain greater speeds.

    I think that the tyres and the kers is enough really to make a difference...Hamilton was able to catch Vettel because of his car and tyres and over took without using DRS....it is possible. Most others were able to gain a massive advantage down the back straight and over take regardless of whether their car had decent kers, greater top end speed or better aero setup.

    Its a dilema because its exciting but it does feel quite right

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes, the racing was exciting but at the same time it was complicated and confusing to follow, the race seemed chaotic until the last 5 laps. Even the commentary was confusing and frenetic because they didn't know what would happen either. Tyre and pit wall strategy plus the introduction of overtaking aids take away a lot skill a driver brings to the show and if a drivers race can be ruined by pit wall choosing the wrong tyres at the wrong time it kills the sport as a racing spectacle, the result is decided by the strategists and not the drivers.

    This may be what Bernie and Co want from the sport and the die hard fans will I'm sure adapt to this new way of racing but what niggles me is what anyone new to F1 will make of it all - if I were planning on tuning in to F1 for the first time this season would I really want to figure out why some guy who was winning suddenly can't race because he's stopped racing due to his tyres wearing out ?

    I just hope that Pirelli's core business doesn't suffer because people think their tyres wear out quickly !

  • Comment number 63.

    @56

    Hamilton was penalised for swerving down the main straight before turn one. He'd defended his position from Alonso "illegally", although it did seem marginal. He didn't swerve for Alonso to then collide with him.

  • Comment number 64.

    Jake - I actually think looking back to 1995 is quite pertinent this season re. Vettel's performances. In 1994 you had a young Schumacher make a total meal of winning his first Championship, and he then returned in 1995 a much calmer, more mature driver. I know it is early in the season, but Vettel's performances so far, both in qualifying and the races, suggest there is a certain similarity to that maturing process.

    As for the new rules this season, you can't please everyone all of the time. There are a couple of journalists out there who seem particularly hostile to the new rules. It might feel artificial to some, but it is at least providing action: I would still prefer to watch this rather than a re-run of the 1999 Spanish Grand Prix, for example, which sticks in my mind as an example of one of the most tedious processions in modern times.

  • Comment number 65.

    Jake
    A thought.........

    Did we see the first truly underhand action by a cunning Button in China when he came in a lap late for his first stop with the result that Hamilton lost both time & track position?
    Yes it didn't work because Button parked in Vettel's slot, maybe his underhand action against Hamilton was what was really on his mind? mmmm!!!
    Fact, if Button hadn't messed up by first going into Vettel's pit it would have put him several places ahead of Hamilton & he'd still have been ahead of Vettel and we may well have seen a different race result as key to Hamilton winning was his sublime pass on Button (this wouldn't have happened if Button had kept his lead over Vettel)!
    As yet, having read all the press & web F1 no explanation as to why Button didn't come in as he should have has been given.

    I hope I am wrong & we all know even if I'm right Button wouldn't admit it but we also know that F1 (most of) drivers will do anything to win and we also know that many underhand things happen in F1.

    Just a thought and I'd bet it's a thought that has not escaped either McLaren, Hamilton or Hamilton's engineers even if it has you and the BBC F1 team!

    Thoughts?

  • Comment number 66.

    Quick question about the drivers initials used in the presentation of positions in the race:- all the drivers names are represented by the first three letters of their surname, with one exception. Michael Schumacher. As there are no other drivers names starting "SCH" there isn't a need to distinguish MSC from AnotherSC. Why is Herr Schumachers initials MSC and not SCH?
    -----------------

    It'sa consistency thing from when Ralf was also driving.

  • Comment number 67.

    30. At 08:17am 19th Apr 2011, Nadaliator wrote:

    I'm actually wondering if this whole tyre situation will come back to bite F1 on the behind. Call me old fashioned but I champion skill over strategy any day and to see the likes of Alonso and Vettel, two extraordinary drivers, lose race position/grip because their tyres went off rather than them making errors (although Alonso's starts are horrendous - his achilles heel it seems) isn't really racing.
    ---------------------
    What a silly thing to say. The tyres do not simply get slower by a prescribed amount each lap, it is perfectly possible to make them last 2-3 laps longer by applying certain driving skills. This is jus an extrapolation of what all drivers have always had to do in not braking too late too hard and flatspotting.










    34. At 08:36am 19th Apr 2011, UnionFan wrote:

    More excitement, yes. More overtaking, apparently yes. Good and interesting coverage from the BBC, yes. Races still being won and lost during pit stops instead of on-track ability, yes.

    I'm really trying to like F1 as the powers that be seem to be more committed to producing a good spectator sport than many other sports. Credit where it's due. I just can't get passed the fact that the track isn't where the action happens all of the time.

    Please, before the fans on this forum jump down my throat, I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy F1 for what it is; a high speed mixture of chess and horsepower. Personally, I just prefer to see shorter format races so the action takes place on track. If I want to watch tactics and not just car/driver combinations win, I will watch Le Mans.

    BTCC, MotoGP, Superbikes all see drivers and riders having to go hell for leather from start to finish. No million-pound aerodynamic packages, unpredictability amongst the vehicles and therefore better on-track racing. Because everything happens on the track.
    ------------------------
    You've just contradicted your own argument. If you want to watch a sprint then go and watch a sprint, F1 has always been about strategy over a 2 hour/200 mile long race.

  • Comment number 68.

    Hello Jake

    I have to admit, while the racing is fab, the best ever. I'm not really happy with the post race coverage, sorry mate but all this walking about doesn't work for me... you do that pre-race for a start. It was much better last year, when you had a moter-home to sit down in and actually talk to the drivers/team-heads. It was more anchored and steady... plus you got more out of your interviewees, so please bring back last seasons tactics of finding a chair for everyone to sit on and talk. With the races more frentic it be good to actually have a screen to show the interviewee something they haven't yet seen on the race and get their views liveon air first, like you did last season... it also put a few of them on the spot, which was also entertaining.
    No more Johnthan Legard, okay fair enough, DC is really good, but Johnny Herbert would also be interesting providing a different voice, something to think about, maybe?

    Anyways keep up the good work

    Robbm

  • Comment number 69.

    The 2011 F1 has been pretty exciting but, I still cant stand David I am bias Coulthard commentaries. I don't know, maybe I should dose down my expectations for fair and balanced analyses. For instance, he seems to particularly struggle on issues related to Red Bull vs other teams or Lewis driving skills and style vs Button and the rest.

    All else, great coverage as usual tho! =)

  • Comment number 70.

    38. At 08:51am 19th Apr 2011, Nadaliator wrote:

    @34

    Yes, I agree with you! If I wanted to see a spectacle I'd go to see Cirque du Soleil......

    No, that was harsh, I love exciting races, but I also love to see drivers winning races because they deserved to, not because their tyres were fresher or they had more KERS left.
    -----------------
    Yet their tyres are freshers or they havemore KERS left because they managed them better, if they can get to the same point of the race as another driver with more rubber left then surely it's because they have driven better?






    Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember Senna & later Mansell charging through the fields to win GP’s with nothing more than their inherent skill and underlying car pace so watching Webber pick off each car as their respective tyres “went off” made it, as Webber himself said in all fairness, very, very artificial.
    --------------
    Rubbish. The only reason anyone ever "charges" through the field is the car speed. In those days you reguilarly saw the top 6 finishing 2-3 minutes apart at the end of the race, the cars were that much different from one another, it makes overtaking easy when you can go 4 seconds a lap quicker.







    There should be some penalty given to Ferrari for cutting the pit line. As mentioned by one of the commentators during the race "Whats the point of even painting it on if they're allowed to cut it without penalty?"
    -------------
    The infringement in question refers to returning to the track before the end of the white line. The line up until the point it joins the track is for guidance only so no infringement took place. Yes it does raise the question of what;s the point of the line being there at that position but that's a question on it's own.

  • Comment number 71.

    @60

    2010 - Ferrari team orders; FIA failed to impose a bigger fine than the quite frankly pocket change sum of $100k. This action changed the standings of the race and the entire championship. For any normal person or smaller organisation $100,000 is a substantial penalty, for an F1 team it simply isn't enough. If any F1 team could pay only $100k now and improve their season, they'd bite your hand off (remember they spend far in excess of this amount between races anyway).

    I wasn't particularly stating that the FIA were as bad as they used to be regarding Ferrari, just pointing out that the decisions in these last two races in particular seem a little unjust.

  • Comment number 72.

    @57

    I think you have a point and if China ends up being the norm just wait for the purest F1 fans to start complaining about it.

    All F1 needs is: Good tracks (not the Tilke designed ones, well nearly all of them) & drivers of the likes of Hamilton & to a lesser extend Webber that'll have a go at overtaking.

    I honestly believe had Hamilton been in Alonso's position at the blast race of 2010 we'd not have Vettel as the current F1 champion. If I'd been Alonso I'd rather have gone out trying rather than letting Vettel take the championship with a whimper.

  • Comment number 73.

    @70

    The infringement in question refers to returning to the track before the end of the white line. The line up until the point it joins the track is for guidance only so no infringement took place. Yes it does raise the question of what;s the point of the line being there at that position but that's a question on it's own.
    -------------------

    Thats fair enough then. I was unaware of this rule, as you would usually expect a white line to actually mean something. You are right, if this is the correct ruling then there is no point in having it whotsoever.

    On a slightly similar topic, was the correct decision made in Australia regarding a number of cars extending the track on a certain corner in order to either overtake, or help defend their position. I only ask as I thought the decision making seemed a little inconsitent on that occasion and you seem very knowledgeable on the subject :)

  • Comment number 74.

    @49 the BBC sports team, can provide references if required. Wonder what they will think happened when it dives back down due to no other event.

  • Comment number 75.

    @35 dukeofearl wrote:
    People comment that the manufacturers are in F1 to sell cars. I hope Pirelli aren't in F1 to sell tyres! I'd want to buy something that lasted longer than a trip to my local Tesco Express!!

    ----

    Yes we all see your point, well you could buy Bridgestones then, they last twice as far, that way you could go to Tesco Express twice before needing to change them...

    Do you drive a F1 car around town? At high speed on the limit? If you don't...then why are F1 tyres relevant?...

    You know you could look at the fact Pirelli managed to get from the first race this year, exactly what they aimed for in terms of wear rates, drop off, and difference between compounds, that these guys REALLY understand compounds of rubber/synthetics, tyre manufacture and design, to manage to make a new F1 tyre that work competitively with previous ones on single lap pace, but wears out in X number of laps, without bursting, but just falling off a cliff in terms of performance, to force 2-4 stop races as intended. If they can manage that so precisely and fast, then perhaps with all the years of development, they can achieve their road cars tyre aims too. Which vary with model.

  • Comment number 76.

    @53 - Pirelli were asked to design a tyre that would degrade in this manner, so that tyre management and pit-stop strategy would become more influential in deciding a race. It's not that Pirelli tyres are rubbish - they've been designed that way.

    @6 - definitely agree that DRS in its current form isn't what we really want to see. Like the idea of allowing drivers to manage when and where they deploy it for a limited amount of time throughout the whole race. Should be made available around the entire track; allow drivers to open the wing coming out of a corner, then the more skilled will be able to handle the reduced grip at the exit and/or time the DRS to maximise its effect. Should ultimately be about driver skill and mechanical superiority (or lack thereof), not just how close you can get to the back of the car you're following.

  • Comment number 77.

    There are lots of comments saying with the new tyres, P11 is the best qualification place. That might be so for the modern tracks but I suspect at the tricky to pass tracks, such as Monaco, Spain, Hungary the pole sitter will still have an advantage. If you think back to the classic Mansel / Senna Monaco race, Mansel had brand new sticker tyres yet still could not get past Senna.

  • Comment number 78.

    @28, then DRS becomes even more contrived. Best to just give them a total allowed usage for the Quali + Race. Either 1 total, or a total per event.

  • Comment number 79.

    Really great start to the season loving it. however.....

    Me and my dad been discusing this. as there is so much drop off in the tyres and the soft tyres are so much faster ( over 1 second a lap ). we were thinking you might see teams only doing qualifying on hard tyres, and saving brand new set of softs for the race. okay mark webber overtook a lot of cars but, not many of them were down to him "overtaking" last of the late breakers. it was down to the fact he had so much more grip and could just drive round them, or accelerate out of the corners better.

    the FIA need to look closely at this because on some high tyre ware circuits it might be a huge advantage to have brand new sets of tyres available for the race and qualifying might be seen as, okay lets see how high up the grid we can get with hard tyres. it will give great racing i think, however it kinda dimishes qualifying, because the extreme of this is everyone does quali on hard tyres and saves there options ( i think ) for the race. the one risk of this tactic will be a crash in the opening stages

  • Comment number 80.

    Whilst BBC F1 is in HD on TV, why isn't it in HD on the iPlayer?

  • Comment number 81.

    @raikonnen
    Perhaps we Brits do get excited about good performances from a fellow countrymen. Since you typed **s instead of ***e, may I assume you are from the US?
    Your comment would be more acceptable if the US had any athletes who compete regularly in the sports you allude to: football (soccer to you), tennis, F1 and cricket. Instead, except for golf (snore!), you have totally insular sports that you grandiosely nominate as "World Series", etc. And don't bring up the mingy US football games that are occasionally played in the UK. Once the US can produce valid competitors in those sports -- Michael Andretti, Scott Speed, anyone?-- you might have a point.
    In the meantime, even if you are entitled to your opinion (such as it is), refrain from raining on other people's parades.

  • Comment number 82.

    BBC is doing a great job with the broadcast,and FIA is doing its bit to make it a good show. but really would have we seen all those overtaking if it was two cars with similar pace? Similar tyre performance? I doubt it. So is overtaking that great when you are doing it against a guy who is definitely slower and less permanence than your car?

    At least now its becoming more team sport than individualize brilliance. Hopefully we find the correct balance where individual driver skill and team work(Mechanics, strategy) are balanced.

  • Comment number 83.

    Those long flights home make for good time to write, no? :~) Good post!

  • Comment number 84.

    Great blog Jake and great coverage by the BBC in general. Really enjoyed starting each day of the weekend with a bit of F1! DC and MB are really working well together in my opinion. They can only get stronger as a team.

    I personally think there is enough to affect the racing with tyre strategy and KERS usage/conservation. DRS seems a step too far. Lewis didn't even use it in his overtaking on the way to the victory.

    I don't think Red Bull have been caught yet - this is still Vettel's championship to lose with that monster of a car, but at least we will see some competition along the way.

    Thought the forum interview with Lewis was great. For all the rubbish that surrounds him, he still seems quite grounded. He's by far and away the most exciting driver in F1.

  • Comment number 85.

    @10, I'm guessing its because once a driver has been assigned his racing initials things he can't change it, and it would have origionally have been MSC because of his brother Ralf (probably RSC)

  • Comment number 86.

    Oh...'95...I'd latched myself on to the "Dream Team" Williams of that era with Damon and DC as drivers and Schumacher as the guy who seemed to win way too often for my liking.

    Fast forward 16 years and I've gone from being a secondary school student in Teddington to a guy looking for work in Exeter, Jake's gone from an A Level student in Norwich to living the dream, DC's now a commentator having not managed to win a single world title before he retired, McLaren have formed a new Dream Team with two world champions and Schumacher's very unwise comeback means that he is being shown up by a new German! Who is younger than Jake and I! As is the best British F1 driver of my lifetime! How did that happen?

    Anyway, I have to say that Vettel is still the guy to beat at this point but I do hope, not just as a McLaren fan that he won't run away with things which was my big concern post-Malaysia. As an F1 fan I like my title races close and even if Lewis or Jenson had been one of the guys to run away with it...the back end of the season would risk getting anti-climatic.

    I really can't see Lewis's display in China being a one off for this season.

    However the third guy I expected to be in the title race pre-season was Alonso but he seems to be absolutely nowhere right now! And Massa's reminding him of his own quality in the meantime. I see storm clouds coming over Maranello.

  • Comment number 87.

    this sundays race was the best for me, te other race as in 2006 i think were schumacher and alonso were fighting until the end, i couldnt remeber which race, but that was one hell of a rcae.

    what kind of a an idea was drs, the one second rule, that makes it a bit boring knowing that whoever is behind you, you cannot do nothing, the driver just a sitting duck, all these rules are annyoing and changing f1, and the new rule of 107% who makes these rules.

    and lastly most drivers are equal drivers, it is the cars that make the drivers look good, for e.g. 2009 brawn had a fast car, rubens won races, this year rubens is finishin 17th 16h 15th, so it is the car, imagine if kubcia had red bulls car im sure by now he would've won the world championships.

    the drivers are equal it is the car

  • Comment number 88.

    Tell you what, I do miss the BBC F1 coverage.

    It was 2006 since I was able to see it live with only a few exceptions. F1 was a long way away until recently.
    Now I can watch it on local TV stations [EU mainland] and whilst language is not the problem, the base line quality of the race commentry leaves alot to be desired.

    Would were the BBC able to air F1 live on 'BBC International' ..... just the 2hr slot for the race would be enough ..... hint hint !!

    Oh and a great blog from Brundle to sum up the 3rd installment of 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/formula_one/13127255.stm

    Clearly a man of many talents!

  • Comment number 89.

    Lewis the ultimate racer and keeps a clear head.I never had any doubt he would come out strong in China after his disappointment in Malaysia and Buttons unwise comments about mounting a challenge for the championship, as though he was sure of McLarens backing. Lewis really established that he is the man at McLaren whilst Button's thinking was so muddled he lost the lead by parking in the wrong pit for sufficient time to allow Red Bull to get Vettel out first. Then Lewis breezed past him whilst he seemed to be unaware he was being challenged. If McLaren want to win the championship this year,Whitmarsh needs to back a real winner rather than the guy he signed.

  • Comment number 90.

    I agree that this year the racing is much better and the commentary team infinitely improved. One thing that would help with, so many tyre changes, would be to show a graph now and again in a race of the leading drivers Distance v. Time. With Time across the bottom and Distance as the Y axis, pit stops would show as flat segments and the slope of the graph should be steeper for drivers on new tyres than for those on old ones.

  • Comment number 91.

    To those enquiring after EJ's whereabouts during Shanghai, he was racing his new Oyster yacht in a regatta off Grenada. Not really on, is it?

  • Comment number 92.

    Hi Jake,

    Great blogs and great coverage. The only comments I have to make are:

    1. I think the way DRS and the other regs are going is finally a direction we should all be wanting it to go in. For instance, we've finally narrowed it down to the fact that maybe what we want to see is not just "overtaking" (which was touted as the magic word for years) but more specifically wheel to wheel racing. I think you'd have to be dead set on being negative to think we aren't seeing that. What the DRS and tyre situation is doing is opening the door to drivers to show more character and do their talking on the track when they're given the opportunity to pass. Obviously, it's not a perfect of best situation yet but I think finally after years of reg changes we might have cracked something that lets team strategy shine and lets the strongest characters out on track rise to the top with genuine competition.

    2. I just have to agree with a comment above, that pointed out the recent situation of the F1 Forums. Actually, I think this season's forums have allowed for more taking comments in from users online which is probably what the show is all about. But it was great when you guys used to have sit downs with the drivers more often. Last week, I thought you didn't do it because the teams would have been packing up to meet deadlines for China but even this week it just seemed like no one was hanging around or the paddock was dead. It never used to be like that. Maybe there's a reason?

    Anyway all the best and keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 93.

    DRS is good and does not allow slower racers to overtake. I think many of the above comments have forgotten the 1 second rule. I do think the BBC should reduce mentioning the DRS however as its purpose is to only be used when a slower car is met with a faster car and not when two marginally faster cars meet. Also because the greater amount of chat and you end up getting guys on here moaning about how it is anti racing and comparing it to a brake which it would be without the 1 second rule.

  • Comment number 94.

    I hate the new rules for this F1 season. This absurdly contrived tyres nonsense makes a mockery of a once fine sport. Please let's get back to the days when a good racing driver in a fast car would win, rather than some back-room strategist, calculating number of stops and counting tyre sets. People watch F1 for the excitement of seeing cars racing against each other on an otherwise 'level playing field'. They want to see the best car/driver combination win, not the team with the best theorists.

  • Comment number 95.

    I still getting used to the new rules, and its still too early to be certain. DRS could be making it too easy to pass, but they can alter the distance it is used for and could lessen the gap in the wing that opens up.

    Early on in China, the DRS was making no difference. Engines were at full revs and the weight of the car made the speed differential too low. What it does though is keep the cars close, which is the point, to make the things easier to pass. This happened in Australia, when it allowed cars to pass at turn 3 having been closer through 1 & 2. The teams go out of their way to mess up the airflow behind the cars to stop other cars following closely. DRS negates that fundamental problem with all single seaters.

    Later in the race, the tyres made the difference, as they were out tractioning each other from the hairpin - they didn't need DRS, other than to be close, and extra grip (and KERS) allowed Lewis to take the lead against the KERSless Red Bull of Vettel.

    Personally, I can quite easily cope with another 16 races like that this season

  • Comment number 96.

    Superb blog Jake, Lewis was 'God-like' on Sunday, a true racer. For me the best quote of the race (in fact the season) was from DC after Buttons engineer said “beware of Webber”………Coulthard says: “the only way that engineers message could have been any scarier is if it was delivered in the dark”…….classic. Even had Brundle cracking up....

  • Comment number 97.


    Great blog Jake. In the Chinese Grand Prix Forum online I noticed something neg. Around the 15 sec mark there's the footage of when Hamilton went into the gravel when trying to make a pitstop in 2007,,,,,,,,,why has there got to be a negative twist?

  • Comment number 98.

    Jake's refreshing blogs - great. I live in France, great wine, cheese, food, weather, girls etc, but the very best thing about living here is the 1 hour difference. Early Saturday & Sunday morning GP week-ends start a very appreciable hour later over here. Fantastic start to the season. All we need now is a new French Grand Prix venue

  • Comment number 99.

    "Thanks for setting your alarms in your droves the past month"

    It's been an exciting start to the F1 season, accompanied with a relaxed Sunday breakfast. After the qualifying/race, I find myself up and ready to make the most of the weekend. I might even prefer the early starts!

    It's only fair to give the European leg of the season a chance to impress though, so let's see if sunny, Sunday afternoons with a cold beer change my mind.

  • Comment number 100.

    Great race but I think it spells the end for the Pole shoot-out. Best place to start is now 11th, choose your tyres to start and have all the fresh rubber you want. Don't waste rubber trying to prove a point in qualifying, keep it for the race. Interesting game to watch them trying to keep lower on the grid. Start on hards and use Kers and DRS to get the slower guys and then all softs to get the guys in front. Won't work at Monaco but anywhere else tyre strategy is the winner not being on pole.

 

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