Victims of Circumstance: Montreal 2013

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Adam Macdonald

“Finally we get it off the list”

Getting the monkey off your back is always a good feeling.  Sebastian Vettel was delighted to have finally shaken the demons of the 2011 GP, having been in the lead for the whole race until that fateful spin.  Then, there was last year where one of the few times the McLaren team made a great strategy call, where they took the chequered flag.  To win on the streets of Montreal was essential, even if it was more of a psychological win for the man from Heppenheim.

vettel canada finish

The new “normal” gave a fantastic spectacle for all.  The induction of more street circuits onto the Formula One calendar has changed the face of racing.  Monaco used to be set apart from any other because of its unique characteristics, so a race that entertained was the last thing the people of the principality would have wanted.

Whilst for many the race was a procession of levelling out the field for pace, it was also the first time we have seen different strategies look genuinely competitive.  It was also the first time where the RBs, in particular Vettel, have looked in a league of their own, barring Bahrain, where the extreme temperatures made it an anomaly.

This is a worrying thought for anyone who thinks it will be a tightly fought WDC this year.  36 points out in the lead, and in a stronger car, at least in qualifying, Sebastian Vettel is surely on course for a fourth straight title.  There have only been 7 races, but already it looks like Ferrari has a mountain to climb, as the RBs will only get stronger and stronger.

So what really happened?

Adrian Sutil: The furious radio message heard seemed justified.  The ‘blocking’ incident seemed very harsh, but as are the rules of this post, the stewards’ decision is final.  It made for a poor day at the office for the German, especially considering the remarkable performance from his teammate, to move up from 17th on the grid to finish 7th.

Mark Webber: If there’s one thing that really frustrates fans of a driver, it’s poor driving from others affecting another pilots race.  Giedo van der Garde had no need to be getting involved with Webber; let alone to close the gap on the Australian as he lapped the Dutchman.  Webber dropped 2.4 seconds over the next two laps, which gave Fernando Alonso the opportunity to pounce using the supreme Ferrari DRS.  Whether Webber would have been able to keep Fernando behind him is debatable, but Webber would certainly have been closer to Lewis Hamilton.  Lewis seemed to be in fuel saving mode, and could have been challenged.  For this reason, Mark is awarded the final podium position.

Interesting to note Mark was able to take the fastest lap accolade, even with half a front wing missing.  This really says a lot for the effectiveness of the rear end that Newey has designed!

Nico Hulkenberg: Having been running in 14th and looking in fairly good shape, action man for the day, Giedo van der Garde, decided it was time to once again join in the action on lap 47.  Hulkenberg is awarded 14th position, but still no points.

Esteban Gutierrez: Another rookie error from the Mexican and nobody else to blame.  He remains retired from the race.

The recovery of Gutierrez’s car led to the tragic death of a trackside marshal in Montreal which should not be forgotten.  However, those who were calling it a death in F1 should reassess the situation.  The incident occurred well after the race had finished.  It was an extremely unfortunate occurrence, but people should remember this was an operational accident, and not a racing incident.

The Verdict
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start Revised
1 Sebastian Vettel = 25 = 1 1
2 Fernando Alonso = 18 = 6 2
3 Mark Webber +1 15 +3 5 3
4 Lewis Hamilton -1 12 -3 2 4
5 Nico Rosberg = 10 = 4 5
6 Jean-Eric Vergne = 8 = 7 6
7 Paul Di Resta = 6 = 17 7
8 Felipe Massa = 4 = 16 8
9 Kimi Raikkonen = 2 = 10 9
10 Adrian Sutil = 1 = 8 10
11 Sergio Perez = 0 = 12 11
12 Jenson Button = 0 = 14 12
13 Nico Hulkenberg RETIRED 0 = 9 13
14 Romain Gorsjean -1 0 = 22 14
15 Valtteri Bottas -1 0 = 3 15
16 Daniel Ricciardo -1 0 = 11 16
17 Pastor Maldonado -1 0 = 13 17
18 Jules Bianchi -1 0 = 19 18
19 Charles Pic -1 0 = 18 19
20 Max Chilton -1 0 = 20 20
21 Esteban Gutierrez RETIRED 0 = 15 21
22 Giedo van der Garde RETIRED 0 = 21 22

Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Sebastian Vettel 1 132 =
Fernando Alonso 2 112 +16
Kimi Raikkonen 3 82 -6
Nico Rosberg 4 72 +15
Lewis Hamilton 5 65 -12
Mark Webber 6 63 -6
Felipe Massa 7 53 +4
Adrian Sutil 8 31 +14
Romain Grosjean 9 28 +2
Jenson Button 10 25 =
Paul Di Resta 11 24 -10
Jean-Eric Vergne 12 12 -1
Daniel Ricciardo 13 4 -3
Sergio Perez 14 3 -9
Nico Hulkenberg 15 1 -4
Esteban Gutierrez 16 0 =
Valtteri Bottas 17 0 =
Pastor Maldonado 18 0 =
Jules Bianchi 19 0 =
Charles Pic 20 0 =
Giedo van der Garde 21 0 =
Max Chilton 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

Eddie Jordan’s grid walk was something very special to watch.  His unrivalled enthusiasm makes him such an asset to the BBC, and adds to the rich wealth of characters up and down the pit lane. For anyone who did not get to see it, here is the video below.  5.15 is the particularly fun part with Bernie Ecclestone.

Had Mark managed to finish ahead of Fernando, and given Red Bull Racing a 1-2 finish, the plaudits for Sebastian Vettel would have been so much less.  Giedo VDG will certainly be on Vettel’s Christmas card list; that is if they send Christmas cards in Germany?

Quote of the Day

This week’s quote comes from Robert Earl Wilson, the American baseball player from Louisiana.  “Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.”

Earl Wilson

The 2nd position finish for Alonso showed why many rate him still as the best driver in Formula One.  However, on another given day the touching of wheels whilst overtaking Lewis Hamilton on lap 63, going into turn 1 could so easily have wrecked all his good work.  This was the sort of luck Fernando lacked last year given Suzuka, Vettel’s remarkable comeback in Abu Dhabi, etc….

8 responses to “Victims of Circumstance: Montreal 2013

  1. You are certainly very generous to Hulkenberg. Hulk failed to clear GvdG, and moved over on to his line in the braking zone, (red mist or driver error?).

    The race stewards report makes clear that red mist would be appropriate, “Car 21 was given blue flags for a full lap. Car 11 had to use DRS and full KERS in order to overtake a lapped car.”

    The stewards were generous to Hulk regarding the collision, (given the context, that level of generosity was appropriate).

    • The great shame for Hulkenberg is if he was still at Force India, he would not be mixing with the backmarkers as much!

  2. I guess, as Lewis crossed the line just under 2 seconds shy of Alonso, then Webber must have finished 0.8 seconds behind him, and 0.8 in front of Lewis, bit generous I reckon.

    I’d have loved to have seen it, if it had have been that close, one of them three would have come a cropper for sure!

    • Yes, I don’t see how you can give webber that 2.4s back AND have Alonso pass him AND catch and pass Hamilton AND then have Webber do they same?

      • As is written; the fight between Alonso and Webber would have been more hardly fought, and Webber would not have been forced to accept 4th place. He lost a lot of down force following the loss of the front wing m-plate leaving the car. Look at the lap times for Webber between lap 40-52.

  3. I am not agreeing with your assessment of Kimi and Romain performance for that race!
    I do believe that Lotus managed to keep Romain at bay, through questionable pitting strategy, to ensure Kimi’s 24th finish in the points and in doing so increase the odds of Kimi renewing his contract with Lotus.

    • Grosjean had started to grain his tyres. Ultimately, he is a driving with very little confidence at the moment which is a very worrying thought for Lotus if Kimi is going to exit at the end of the season.

      And regarding the Kimi contract, he is on a bonus per points scored contract so it actually costs them more for him to score. He will most probably leave as Lotus have lost the most key asset to their outfit, James Allison.

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