Today’s race took me back to the Schumi-dominated Ferrari days; sadly for all the wrong reasons. This was supposed to be Ferrari’s redemption race; a race where they were to make up for their messy performances at Silverstone and Valencia. It was hardly that!
Starting at P1 and P3, Alonso and Massa had a very good car under them. All they had to do was race, and it would be game on! The Prancing horse was to take the Bull by its horns. That is exactly what happened at the start. Vettel was too busy trying to pin Alonso to the pit wall to realize that Massa was sneaking up on him too. A brilliant maneuver from Massa and a nice inside line by Alonso saw both of them come ahead of Vettel after the first corner.
For the next 20 odd laps, the two Scuderia drivers traded fast laps amongst them, with Alonso being marginally quicker. As they started to overtake backmarkers, Alonso tried to overtake Massa, who was in no mood to oblige. All fair until now. They then chose to let Alonso pit ahead of Massa, maybe hoping he would come out ahead. But that failed too. Then came a radio message to Massa saying that he had opened up a 3 second gap on Alonso and that the Race was his to take. Although I would have preferred to see Alonso on the top step, I wanted it to be done on track; so I was happy with the call of letting them both race.
But what transpired ten laps later was a bitter pill to swallow for us racing fans. Massa was told that Alonso is quicker; please confirm you have received the message. Suddenly at the next lap, Massa slowed down at the hairpin; apparently momentarily forgetting that he is in an F1 race. Alonso swept by and took the chequered flag after a series of fast laps. That left Massa on the second step of the podium; confirming that he is going to be playing Barrichello to Alonso who has been chosen to fit into the shoes of Schumacher at Maranello.
It was a plain mockery of us racing fans, who idolize a lot of these drivers and watch every race with anticipation, expecting the best driver on the day to win. Who is then wrong to question Lewis winning the 2008 title with a last lap “failure” with Timo’s Toyota; especially after Ron Dennis was spotted at the Toyota pit-wall. Or the resurgence of Brawn GP out of the ashes of Honda, only to fail miserably this season. I feel sorry for the racing fans who paid as high as 2000 Euros for the best seats at the Hockenheimring; clearly what they saw was not racing but a soap opera.
Even though Alonso is my favourite driver and remains so, I sincerely hope that the FIA takes strict action against Alonso and Ferrari. Both of them would well do to remember that no man or team is greater than the sport; even though they would like to think so. And yes, Mr Montezemolo maybe Ferrari has been ever present on the starting-grid in F1, but after what we saw today; I am not sure them being absent would be such a bad thing at all.
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