BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson

Archives for October 2012

Time running out for Alonso

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Andrew Benson | 16:39 UK time, Sunday, 28 October 2012

As Sebastian Vettel headed down the pit lane after winning the Indian Grand Prix, team-mate Mark Webber's Red Bull behind gave him a couple of little nudges as they headed to their correct parking places.

"I switched off the car," Vettel said. "I was told to park the car under the podium and I couldn't remember where it was from last year and Mark gave me a little bit of a push."

He added that he thought it was his "only mistake" of the day, which sounds about right.

The victory was his fourth in a row, a new achievement for the German despite his domination on the way to the world championship last year, and he has now led every racing lap since Lewis Hamilton's McLaren retired from the lead of the Singapore Grand Prix four races ago.

It also moves Vettel to one win short of the tally of Sir Jackie Stewart. At this rate, Vettel will not only pass the Scot's number of victories before the end of the year but join him as a three-time world champion as well.

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Vettel takes over at the top

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Andrew Benson | 14:23 UK time, Sunday, 14 October 2012

As Sebastian Vettel put down his winner’s trophy after holding it up in celebration on the Korean Grand Prix podium, Fernando Alonso tapped him on the back and reached out to shake his hand. It was a symbolic reflection of the championship lead being handed from one to the other.

After three consecutive victories for Vettel and Red Bull, the last two of which have been utterly dominant, it does not look as though Alonso is going to be getting it back.

Alonso will push to the end, of course, and he made all the right noises after the race, talking about Ferrari “moving in the right direction” and only needing “a little step to compete with Red Bull”.

“Four beautiful races to come with good possibilities for us to fight for the championship,” he said, adding: “Now we need to score seven points more than Sebastian. That will be extremely tough but we believe we can do it.”

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Warrior Alonso bides his time

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Andrew Benson | 12:15 UK time, Sunday, 7 October 2012

Almost Fernando Alonso's first act after what must have been the huge blow of seeing Sebastian Vettel slash his world championship lead to just four points at the Japanese Grand Prix, was to quote that country's great swordfighter and philosopher Miyamoto Musashi.

"If the enemy thinks of the mountains," Alonso wrote on his Twitter account, "attack by sea; and if he thinks of the sea, attack by the mountains."

That the Ferrari driver can reach for the words of a 17th century kensei warrior and strategist in a moment of such strain reveals a lot about the manner in which he combines an indomitable fighting spirit with a status as possibly the most cerebral Formula 1 driver of his generation.

But it will take more than relentlessness and clever strategy for Alonso to hold on to a lead for which he has struggled so hard this season, but which has now dwindled to almost nothing.

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Never forget how great Michael Schumacher was

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Andrew Benson | 12:43 UK time, Thursday, 4 October 2012

Michael Schumacher was given a round of applause by the assembled media after he finished the prepared statement with which he announced his second retirement from Formula 1 at the Japanese Grand Prix on Thursday.

It was a mark of the respect still held for Schumacher and a reflection of the appreciation for what was clearly an emotional moment for the man whose seven world titles re-wrote the sport's history books.

Schumacher stumbled a couple of times as he read off the paper in front of him and once, as he mentioned the support of his wife Corinna, his voice almost cracked.

Once through the statement and on to a question-and-answer session with the journalists, he was more comfortable, relaxed in a way he has so often been since his comeback, and so rarely was in the first stint of his career.

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