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Previously on TheJudge13:
Lewis Hamilton’s coming of age
In 2012 in the Monaco Grand Prix, commentators felt compelled to suggest that Massa was having one of his inspired days as he tracked Alonso too closely for comfort. Alonso lapped some way off the pace of leaders Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton but as the pit-stops were approaching he suddenly unleashed his full potential and began catching them.
As each driver stopped Alonso found himself in the lead and setting purple sectors. He had preserved the fragile 2012 rubber by not running in the hot draft from the preceding cars – especially at a circuit as notoriously difficult to over-take on as Monaco. If Ferrari had been a little braver with the strategy, another couple of laps and he would have emerged in the lead and won the race. As it was he finished third in a car which frankly had no right to be contesting the title.
Which perfectly demonstrates the difference between an Alonso and a Hamilton.
“We knew as a team that we had some problems part of the way through our second stint, but we thought that we would be okay to manage it, not just me, but Nico as well, and that is why we were going at the pace we were going. I jumped him in the stop and I was thinking ‘wow what an amazing feeling’ then straight away that lap the brakes failed so there was nothing I could do.
The thing is I was following him and when you are following someone you are getting more heat – he was in clean air the whole time in front and so there was not really much I could do.
When I finally came out in front I think by then everything was already cooked so there was nothing I could do.”
Of course every post-race news report states the same story – “A run of race wins is what I’m going to have to do….I’m two DNFs down; that’s almost 50 point’s I’ve lost….”
But if Hamilton had been caught out by the questions of BBC’s Lee McKenzie, those same headlines would have torn into the British driver for disrespecting his team and his team-mate. Mckenzie is liked by the viewers and many drivers enjoy being interviewed by her, with maybe the exception being Raikkonen but she is also very astute in her questioning which can at times catch drivers out. She was the interviewer when Lewis made his notorious “Ali G” statement…
LMc: “what a disappointing day, how you feeling?”
LH: “ok….ok… nothing i could do about it i did the best i could gave it everything i could … shame for the team we couldn’t get the 1-2 for the team.”
LMc:”did you watch the end of the race was it a nervous time?”
LH:”no, nothing nervous really about it, I was getting changed, nothing i can say”
LMc:”Team would have loved to have Nico Rosberg winning. But maybe for a couple of minutes were you a Daniel Ricciardo fan… every point’s going to matter this year.”
Hamilton gave a wry smile at this and answered carefully
LH:“every point will, that’s two dnfs for me – none for Nico but these are learning experiences..”
Red Bull insists Newey ‘not retiring’ (GMM)
Red Bull insists Adrian Newey is not retiring. On Sunday, off the back of reported huge-money poaching efforts by Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren, the world champion team announced that Newey has agreed a new “multi-year” deal. But Red Bull also said 55-year-old Newey will be working on “new Red Bull Technology projects”, while merely “advising and mentoring” the F1 team “as it develops its formula one cars over the next few seasons”.
And interviews given by Newey in the hours before Sunday’s Canadian grand prix made it sound as though the Briton is stepping away from F1. Indeed, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko admits Newey is “disappointed” at the state of today’s F1, where unbridled technical inspiration is a thing of the past.
“One must understand that whatever he has done has been banned or restricted by the rulemakers shortly thereafter,” he lamented. “The technical rules have clearly restricted his work, which has frustrated him, but instead of losing him, we have found this solution. Newey will remain active with Red Bull Racing for another year,” Marko told Germany’s Sky, but at the same time he will be fronting what Marko referred to as the new ‘Advanced Technology Centre’.
How Newey will split has time has “not yet been fully defined”, Marko admits, “but Adrian’s genius and incredible wealth of experience will still be available to the team.”
Anti-Perez conspiracy theory ‘nonsense’ – Whiting (GMM)
Force India smells a rat, after Sergio Perez was penalised for a terrifying crash at the end of Sunday’s Canadian grand prix. As they tussled for fourth on the last lap, Williams’ Felipe Massa hit the back of Mexican Perez’s Force India, sending them both into the tyres at high speed. They were both transported to Montreal’s Sacre Coeur hospital for checks and later released with no injuries.
Both Williams and Force India pointed the finger of blame. Williams’ post-race press statement said Perez “crashed into” Massa, but Force India claimed Perez was “the innocent victim”.
Ultimately, the stewards sided with Massa, penalising Perez five places on the forthcoming Austrian grand prix grid. According to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, however, Force India suspects a conspiracy. That’s because, in addition to the four stewards in Montreal including former driver Derek Daly, also in the stewards room on Sunday was Adrian Fernandez.
Former Indycar driver and Mexican – Fernandez was Perez’s manager until two years ago, when they acrimoniously split. “The driver steward was Derek Daly,” said Force India team manager Andy Stevenson. “I don’t know why Fernandez was asked for his opinion.”
FIA race director Charlie Whiting insisted: “From time to time, there are observers to the stewards. Fernandez will be the driver representative in Russia, so we invited him here to have a look.” Whiting said any talk of an anti-Perez conspiracy is “nonsense”.
Ranting Hippo Honoris Causa: Vettel’s German post-race interview
Q: Sebastian, to start with the positive aspect. How was your start?
“I got away perfectly. I think I reacted well and had a bit of luck into the first corner. Nico and Lewis tore into each other a bit and I could pass Lewis, but it was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to keep him behind. You could see how he just sailed past, even from quite far behind.”
“Pardon my French, but it should be allowed to say that our bucket of bolts is nowhere on the straights. It’s frustrating to trail someone for fifty laps. You try and fail, drop back, save the tyres, claw back to him and it’s all in vain, because you’re down on power. It’s even more frustrating if a win is up for grabs.”
Q: Did you simply lose too much time behind Hülkenberg?
“Quite obviously. My race was pretty much over right there and then. We simply couldn’t get past – everybody could see that. Without Force India running into problems we would never have passed them. It’s a pity of course that we couldn’t come up with some clever bit of strategy. It just didn’t happen. So in the end I even lost a position and was lucky that Felipe didn’t punt me off.”
Q: “You’ve congratulated Daniel for the win. How hard was it to do that?”
“I’m obviously quite pissed off because the strategy shafted me. For him it is of course a great day. I don’t think it serves any purpose to run around sulking in such a situation. Of course it upsets you as we aren’t here to come second or third, especially on days when we have a shot at winning.
It’s great for him that he found a way past Perez when he ran into brake troubles at just the right time. It’s Daniel’s day and it would be unseemly not to make it a good one for him. He’ll be sleeping well tonight… (grinning) or more precisely tomorrow morning.”
Q: So how did you make it past Perez in the end?
“Sergio braked early. They ran into brake problems and it got progressively worse. That’s the only reason I even got a chance to overtake. It was obvious we could have gone faster and Felipe caught our bunch quite rapidly, too. The pace of the Force India was quite slow, but they were clever and defended well. We just didn’t have the oomph to get past.”
“In the end it luckily worked out for me. I came out of the last corner well and he missed his breaking point. That brought us side-by-side. I went out of the slip-stream – DRS open, engine on full pelt and could see him still pull away. Well that’s just frustrating. His DRS is closed, mine is open and that should make about a 15 kph difference and even then we go nowhere. That was that for my race, because we couldn’t came up with something clever in terms of strategy.”
Q: What would you have done differently in terms of strategy?
“No idea, honestly. I’m not behind the pit wall and have no idea what’s going on around me. It’s easy for me to go out here saying we should have done something different, but I don’t even know if there was even an option to do so. Perhaps there was nothing we could have done anyway.”
“The only thing I can think of would be taking a punt with the tyres. They were fairly uncritical and some guys like Hülkenberg ran them competitively for quite some time without problems.”
Q: Can you describe what happened between Massa and Perez at the end?
“I passed him on the way to turn one and saw that they were quite close to each other. I saw something white filling my rear view mirrors and opened the steering in the last moment. I went right and Felipe flew by where I had just been. That was somewhat surreal, but I was lucky that he didn’t hit me.”
Q: Do you take home anything positive from this race?
“It has been one of the two races where we didn’t have any problems, so there is something positive. It’s a great day for us. After the catastrophic winter tests – to come back like that and be right were we need to be when Mercedes mucks it up. That’s very good. But as a racing driver you want to win and if you don’t despite having the chance to, you cannot be satisfied.”
Adrian Newey confirms he will be designing 2015 Red Bull RB11
The Formula One paddock was unofficially christened the ‘Piranha Club’ some years ago. Competition doesn’t exist merely between the anorexic-like athletes, but also between corporations, manufacturers, suppliers, teams and team personnel. It is not a place for the feint-hearted when deals about being spoken about when hiring the best.
Ferrari supposedly attempted to lure Adrian Newey to Maranello but failed. The Italian media were quite blase in their response to the annual news release. Lauda confirmed he had spoken to him as well – which speaks volumes of his view on Paddy Lowe – but ultimately the Red Bull man played his hand last and signed up for a new attraction at Red Bull Towers.
Following the weekend’s breaking news that Red Bull had re-signed Newey to the squad but heading up his own Advanced Technologies Centre – many in the paddock rejoiced that he is stepping back from the front-lines and allowing his lieutenants to take over the reins of the design philosophy.
With the retirement of Rory Byrne some years back, Newey has generally been accepted as the best designer of this generation. But any pouring of champagne at his ‘retirement’ may have been a little premature. The technology centre is still in the process of being built and until it is ready he will continue working as technical director.
“I’m not ready for the beach just yet so I’ll do this for a little bit longer and see what happens after that. I will remain fully involved in the coming months and will design the 2015 car. After, I will take on more of an advisory role and will always be there for my colleagues if they need advice.”
Mclaren & Red Bull reach agreement over Aero chief – Fallows
As reported and speculated on TJ13 some weeks ago, Mclaren and Red Bull have reached an agreement over aerodynamicist Dan Fallows. Mclaren were to take Red Bull to court as they felt Red Bull had encouraged Fallows to break his agreement with the Woking team.
At the time Mclaren announced they had signed Red Bull’s head of aerodynamics – Peter Podromou – as well as Dan Fallows. Fallows received a promotion within Red Bull and decided to remain with the Milton Keynes team which brought about litigation between the teams.
Over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend a deal was agreed, in principle, that may allow Podromou to join Mclaren later in the year rather than have to wait for his gardening leave to finish on 31st December.
Horner said: “I have a handshake with Mr Dennis which, being a gentleman and a man of his word, means we have an understanding.”
A Mclaren spokesperson added, “They have discussed and resolved a number of issues. As Christian says, a handshake is all you need with Ron…” Hmmmm