The British GP saw Ferrari slip to newer depths of ignominy. I guess since the time Gilles Villeneuve and Carlos Reutemann drove their Ferraris to 12th and 18th respectively in the 1978 British GP, we have never seen Ferraris perform so dismally. Thanks to some pitiful driving and some dubious stewarding (again!!), Ferrari languished at 14th and 15th in a race where they could have seriously challenged for the podium.
I always thought the new Red Bull styled exhaust system and diffuser was going to work wonders coming into this weekend. It was quite surprising though that the team practiced with and without the F-Duct, and the lack of pace was evident. However, in qualifying, they included it and as a result of it, Alonso was brilliant throughout. Also Massa’s sudden slip up in Q3 was shocking.
I have seen it this year that whenever Massa is quick, either Ferrari is genuinely good or the competition is having a tough time. Apart from these, Alonso drives through his skin and manages some 4-5/10th over Massa. Massa is just not upto the levels of the front runners and his lack of form is seriously hurting Ferrari.
As far as the race is concerned, the lesser discussed about it the better. I never really thought both Alonso and Vettel would blame their clutches for their poor start. As a result of this, Alonso went way off the racing line and Hamilton, Rosberg and Kubica overtook him. I am sure anybody watching the race would have realized that Alonso’s chances of a podium finish were negated by then.
And if this wasn’t enough, Massa move on him through Maggots – Beckets was truly disparaging and overtly optimistic. He dived inside of Alonso and braked too late leading to heavy contact. This left him with a punctured tyre and a position right at the back of the formation.
Alonso was steadily making progress up the order and his dual with Kubica was pretty good for the audience. He had a great opportunity through Stowe with some deft out braking into Vale. Kubica probably was caught unawares and in desperation ran him out of the track forcing Alonso to take the run-off area.
My initial reaction was that Alonso should have lifted off the paddle and given his position back to Kubica. But then when I watched the replays over and over, I realized that he was any which ways ahead of Kubica going in and was forced to use the run-off otherwise there would have collided. It is always a better option to give the position back but knowing Alonso and his opening lap clutch glitch, he thought otherwise and persisted with his gain.
I have come to realize that if there is one sports governing body that just fails to learn from its mistakes, it is the FIA (although FIFA is quite close now). The stewards and the FIA once again botched up the penalty call. They took some 20 odd laps to decide in Valencia and they did it again at Silverstone.
Now just imagine a scenario where a football referee doesn’t award a spot kick or issues a card call immediately after a foul, or a third umpire in cricket take 10 overs before he announces his decision? Ridiculous as it may sound, we have been witnessing it for 2 consecutive races now.
The penalty decision came late and Alonso couldn’t serve it because the safety car was out. Call it bad luck or bad timing, Alonso rejoined at the rear end of the pack and Ferrari’s luck was sealed by then. A late spin for Massa and a puncture for Alonso meant they were creating a bit of unpleasant history.
Massa quite blatantly blamed Alonso for his puncture, Domenicali sounded pissed and Montezemolo was at his diplomatic best. No signs of revival here. It was only Alonso who tried his best to pep up the team. The transcript of his radio communication at the chequered flag is available now.
His rationale of Ferrari still having half the season to claim the Championships is logical but increasingly looking impractical. Unless Ferrari wins 2-3 races in a row with their second driver also amongst the points, it looks highly unlikely. For an ardent tifosi, the British GP was a forgettable affair. Hope the future races provide some glimmer of hope.
Motorsports partner: www.isport.in