Victims of Circumstance: Nurburgring 2013

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald.

A puzzling weekend in many ways in Germany. A rapid response to a cameraman’s lucky escape after getting hit by a rogue Webber wheel, tyres that once again caused the technical department at Mercedes headaches, Rosberg not playing ball with the team orders and the Caterhams causing Jenson problems in passing. It was an exciting return to the circuit in the Eiffel Mountains.

Marussia’s latest money saving scheme to have self-driving cars was tested, but proved ineffective, as for a fourth weekend Bert Mylander and his safety car were called into action. Some have called this an overreaction on the part of the race stewards and Charlie Whiting, but in truth it was really the only sensible thing to do.

Nurburgring Marussia rolling backwards

And then there is, ‘How to solve a problem like Felipe?’ It sounds like a new musical, but is far from music to Il Padrino’s ears. The crash/retirement rate for Massa is not only a worrying thought for Felipe personally, but also for the Scuderia Ferrari. Lotus are now worryingly close in the WCC, and look to suit the new tyres far better than their Maranello rivals. Understanding the tyres at Silverstone is of paramount importance to the boys in red!

So what really happened?

Mark Webber: All those who like a conspiracy theory would have once again had a field day at the Nurburgring. Mark had looked to leapfrog Vettel in the first round of pit stops until a mechanics’ finger slipped onto the release button for the Australian. I highly doubt they would even consider something like this on purpose, but Mark Webber will be wondering why it always seems to happen to him. Being in front of Sebastian he would have been able to race, as well as having priority with the pit stops. He is awarded the race win for this GP.

Nurburgring Webber release

Romain Grosjean: What was admitted after the race to be a last ditched attempt to pass Vettel after indecision from the Lotus team on Kimi’s tyres potentially cost them the race win, they proceeded to switch Romain’s and Kimi’s position round in order to aid the WDC. Realistically, Raikkonen would have found it difficult to pass Grosjean in the remaining laps on the tight circuit. Grosjean is placed 3rd for the race.

Felipe Massa: Dropping the car into the first corner was his fault. The fact that the anti-stall did not kick in was unfortunate, but if Massa had not put the car in that position, it would not have been needed. Massa remains retired, at the back.

Jules Bianchi: Nothing that the Frenchman could have done. He had been winning the race for the ‘best of the rest’, and would almost certainly have maintained that place. He is awarded 18th place.

Jean-Eric Vergne: The retirement on lap 23 was caused by a hydraulic issue. As Vergne himself said, it was ‘nothing major but enough to retire. A frustrating end to a frustrating weekend.’ That really sums it up, and all at the worst possible time when there is a race seat at the front of the grid up for grabs in 2014!

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

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

Nurburgring Vettel Raikkonen

Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Sebastian Vettel 1 168 +11
Fernando Alonso 2 130 +7
Kimi Raikkonen 3 100 -16
Mark Webber 4 98 +5
Lewis Hamilton 5 98 -1
Nico Rosberg 6 89 +5
Felipe Massa 7 65 +8
Romain Grosjean 8 43 +2
Adrian Sutil 9 33 +10
Jenson Button 10 31 -2
Paul Di Resta 11 24 -12
Jean-Eric Vergne 12 12 -1
Sergio Perez 13 11 -5
Daniel Ricciardo 14 5 -6
Nico Hulkenberg 15 2 -5
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

The Toro Rosso lack of pace was alarming. JEV had complained about over steer then under steer at different parts of the circuit. Ricciardo complained about the inconsistency of the medium tyres on the car. The big winner out of this is Kimi Raikkonen. It makes it even more difficult to judge the drivers if they do not have the car beneath them. It should be noted though, that Ricciardo was one of the people to lose out from the safety car.

The return of form of the McLarens was obvious, and the change of mood of Martin Whitmarsh palpable. The change of tyres has clearly helped them; but there was no mention of this in the post-race interview.

Quote of the Day

This week’s quote comes from George Denis Patrick Carlin. The American stand-up comedian and author was renowned for his black humour, but more importantly for his views on psychology.

“Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.”

Vettel’s cry of delight over the team radio, at the end of the Grand Prix was interesting. ‘Thank you boys, that was a tough one.’ Was it a tough race physically, tactically or mentally?

Furthermore, is the curse of July dead and buried forever?

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5 responses to “Victims of Circumstance: Nurburgring 2013

      • I did include one for the last report. I’ll make it standard from now on.

      • 2 para would be too long I think. We shouldn’t americanize articles with ‘may contain nuts, don’t sue us’ disclaimers. I think, something like

        “TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald looks at the Grand Prix as it could have unfolded without bad luck inteferrence”

        as the intro-line should suffice.

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