Formula 1 25 Jul 2005 02:29 pm

F1 Round 12 (German GP) Rant

Not much to rant about here.

Last night’s race results reflected the practice and qualifying form, save for those who suffered misfortunes.

I guess Kimi Raikkonen must count as the most unfortunate. Once again, he retired while leading a GP. Once again, there seemed to be no driver error associated with the retirement — a pure technical failure. The locked rear wheels as he came to a stop clearly indicated some sort of gearbox or hydraulics failure, and the team is certainly suggesting hydraulics.

And what of the rest?

The Dummy drove well in a fast car to come second. I guess he got this weekend’s dose of lunacy out of his system on the final corner of his quali-lap. What would have happened if he had qualified on pole or in second? Would McLaren have allowed the team cars to have a proper race? If he were leading, would The Dummy have pulled over for Kimi? I think it’s more likely he would have suffered a radio failure.

Alonso drove well (as usual) but was fortunate to score first place rather than second. But, ‘to finish first, first you must finish’. His lead in the championship now looks almost insurmountable.

Fisichella got caught up in the first lap dramas (hit by Sato — one of several to suffer this fate), and suffered slight damage. He raced well and eventually recovered to fourth place by overtaking Michael Schumacher (what a pretty sight).

Jenson Button drove hard all race, but the car lacks fundamental pace: third place is probably about what he deserved. Jenson says that he now doubts that the team can win a race this year. I reckon he’s correct. I’ve also read that he now wants to stay at BAR for 2006 (not go to Williams). Looks like we’re in for Buttongate II.

Takuma Sato: Banzai. Took out Webber at the start and Fisichella two corneres later. This time last year I thought he was starting to turn into a pretty good racer, but I think now that he is just the latest in a long line of Japanese drivers who get the seat because the engine comes from a Japanese manufacturer.

BGB: scored some points, despite his own best efforts to spear off the track after pit stops. Commentators suggested he may have had a chance to pass his brother in the closing laps. Yeah, right…

Trulli: technical problems hampered his race, and he suffered a drive-through penalty for failing to let Montoya pass cleanly. This was probably a bit tough as he was passing Heidfeld at the time, and Jarno is not the sort of driver who usually gets in the way when getting lapped.

Villeneuve: probably unlucky to lose his nose in an incident with Monteiro, but this was his third contact on the day (other incidents with Barichello and Doornbos). JV has an excuse for all of them. Maybe he needs to think a little more about defensive driving?

Massa: drove consistently after a great start.

Heidfeld: drove well enough, but the car is still too slow. A three stop strategy can sometimes help a bit when you need to be out of sync with other cars, but it’s never going to make up for a deficit of between 1 and 2 seconds per lap compared to the leading cars. (See end of this post for fastest race laps.)

Webber: same problem with car speed, not helped by getting run into by Sato at the first corner. When will Mark have some good luck?

Michael Schumacher: there’s more wrong with the Ferrari than just Bridgestone tyres. For once, they have produced a less-than-great car. It’s sad (in a way) to see Michael tooling around at the back, but I temper my feelings based on Ferrari’s ongoing arrogance and failure to comply with gentlemen’s agreements about testing.

Barichello: came from nowhere to finish nowhere. Not a great day for the smiling man from Brazil.

Coulthard: continues to drive well. Next year’s car with Ferrari engine may give him a better chance to shine.

Klien: improving. Well done.

Jordan: more of the same.

Minardi: different driver, but more of the same.

Fastest race laps:

Hockenheim : fastest laps in the race
1. Kimi Raikkonen – McLaren Mercedes – 1’14.873 – lap 24
2. Fernando Alonso – Renault – 1’15.235 – lap 21
3. Jenson Button – BAR Honda – 1’15.843 – lap 19
4. Juan Pablo Montoya – McLaren Mercedes – 1’15.878 – lap 54
5. Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault – 1’15.890 – lap 21
6. Ralf Schumacher – Toyota – 1’16.073 – lap 23
7. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1’16.099 – lap 18
8. David Coulthard – Red Bull Cosworth – 1’16.233 – lap 18
9. Christian Klien – Red Bull Cosworth – 1’16.236 – lap 45
10. Felipe Massa – Sauber Petronas – 1’16.288 – lap 45
11. Jarno Trulli – Toyota – 1’16.474 – lap 45
12. Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari – 1’16.528 – lap 47
13. Nick Heidfeld – BMW Williams – 1’16.607 – lap 10
14. Takuma Sato – BAR Honda – 1’16.725 – lap 27
15. Mark Webber – BMW Williams – 1’16.803 – lap 46
16. Jacques Villeneuve – Sauber Petronas – 1’17.122 – lap 26
17. Tiago Monteiro – Jordan Toyota – 1’18.106 – lap 12
18. Narain Karthikeyan – Jordan Toyota – 1’18.212 – lap 7
19. Christijan Albers – Minardi Cosworth – 1’18.425 – lap 11
20. Robert Doornbos – Minardi Cosworth – 1’19.025 – lap 44

Comments, as ever, welcome.

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