The Drood Report

Nick Fry is a jerk.

Malaysian Notes

So race two is in the books. Not as fun as the first race, but not dull either. Not one I’ll be archiving, but not one I’ll be reliving in moments of horror either.

While I believe demoting the McLaren’s for their ridiculous behaviour in qualifying was the only fair outcome to the situation, sadly it did deprive us of a battle up front in Malaysia. Allegedly. Think back to last year. How many times did we have all four cars up front and stagnant, dull races? So in the end it probably made very little difference. Of course I do find it hugely ironic. Nick Heidfeld’s final and quickest lap was compromised. The Mclaren boys are demoted. Heidfeld starts further up the grid, which means if he’d not complained, he wouldn’t have been up next to Trulli and his teammate at the first corner and wound up sliding down to tenth. A great example of “be careful what you wish for” perhaps.

Felipe Massa showed who his mentor is at the start chopping across the track in front of Kimi who thought better of it, probably realising that A) he’d do his legs at the pitstop anyway, and B) the chucklehead would invariably bin it at some point. Well put two big old ticks in those checkboxes as both happened. I continue to be amazed that Felipe is still gainfully employed by Ferrari. Two races. Two pathetic errors. Melbourne he was dumped down the field after his error, and it’s remotely possible his minor shunt damaged something on the car ultimately leading to his retirement. That is open to debate. What isn’t open to debate is the fact that in Malaysia he threw away a certain 1-2 finish for Maranello. I notice that the team, unlike in the past, have not leapt to his defense so far this year. No excuses have been forthcoming. No votes of confidence. They remain oddly silent. If Mclaren bring the fight back, come seasons end, and yes I know it’s a cliche, the 8 points Massa threw away could come back to haunt Ferrari.

One thing that did irk me this weekend was Alonso. Now the feed I was watching was rather poor, but he seemed to make some very UnAlonsolike moves. He moved on DC so far they seemed to touch, and he had a couple of other questionable moments. I am still a big fan of Alonso, but have a raised eyebrow right now.

Golden boy Lewis had a bad day, though at least in part has to take some of the blame. I’m seeing a Hakkinen type quality in him. Mika was a terrific driver when he had the equipment and was in the right place. Often though, when the chips were down, he’s lose interest and phone it in, poodling around and not really putting any effort in. That describes Lewis’ drive this past weekend. Sure he had the pitstop issue that cost him 9 seconds, but he spent a good chunk of time completely unable (or unwilling) to do anything about Webber. He started chasing down Trulli toward the end, but wound up finishing a largely discreditable 5th.

Speaking of Webber I’d like to just go on record here and say I WAS WRONG ABOUT MARK WEBBER. Over the years I’ve gotten into debates about various drivers, as all fans probably have. I watch a LOT of F1. From onboard footage, of all the drivers it seemed the one who abused traction control the most was Mark Webber. You’d always hear it kicking in. I always said that when TC was banned, I expected Mark to slide down the grid as he just couldn’t cope. Well I was wrong about that. Very wrong. Webber is like a new man so far this season. I always assumed Mark was using TC to make up for a lack of ability. It would appear he was merely using the tools available to him and has had no problem adapting to the driver aids being gone. I’m actually quite pleased. While in the past I’ve felt Webber was a bit of an idiot, I’ve always had a soft spot for him due to his debut points finish for the now sadly departed Minardi. I was wrong about him, and you know what? I’m actually kinda happy about that.
Back to the race though, while everything else was going on, Massa binning it, Lewis unable to pass Webber, Robert Kubica quietly circulated around, mostly unseen, to take a fantastic and well deserved second place. BMW are looking very dangerous this year. If we reach the end of the season without them winning a race, I will be extremely surprised. Another driver doing a stellar job in inferior equipment was Trulli. I was dearly hoping one of the top three would retire (preferably Kovalainen. I like the guy a lot, but for various reasons do NOT want McLaren to win either title this year) elevating Trulli to the podium. Fantastic to see Jarno back up there. Hopefully it’s a genuine increase, and not some weird thing like we used to get with the March team in the late 80’s, where they’d be up the front one race, and struggling to qualify the next.

Finally, we also had another apparent Ferrari engine failure in the STR team. Curious.

All in all, not a bad weekend.

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March 24, 2008 - Posted by | f1

4 Comments »

  1. Why so biased against McLaren? Surely the team that performs best deserves the win on the day?

    Comment by fifthdecade | March 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. Why so biased? Well I’ve never been especially fond of them. They’ve always been too corporate for my liking. However, over the spy thing last year (dammit, you made me mention it:)), I lost a lot of respect for them. Well you can go and read what I put in an earlier article on here. To sum up, they made a big song and dance condemning Ferrari for trying to win the title in the courtroom and how McLaren value the sport blah blah. After the Brazilian controversy, McLaren then turn around and do exactly what they condemned Ferrari for. Try and win the title for Lewis in the courtroom.

    McLaren are run by hypocrites and liars. I do not like hypocrites and liars.

    If it had been a Honda in third, or a Red Bull, or almost any other team in third, I’d have picked them to be the one to retire to elevate Trulli. Simply because I am a fan of Raikkonen, Kubica, BMW and, obviously, Trulli.

    Welcome to the site BTW:) Thanks for the comment. Always happy to explain why I feel the way I do about all aspects of the sport.

    Comment by Steve | March 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. Well, Ferrari have been widely known for years to be indulging in all sorts of Machiavellian tricks! While in the 80s I always preferred Williams to McLaren (because at least Williams had British drivers) this ended when they stabbed Mansell in the back. Now he was an exciting driver to watch.

    These days I am so pleased to have a British driver doing well for a change that I forgive McLaren their Corporatism. And again, Hamilton is exciting to watch – and surely that’s better than watching a procession for 2 hours?

    Comment by fifthdecade | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  4. Oh I know Ferrari are no angels. I’ve spoken to fans who have been watching since the 50’s who’ve educated me on Ferrari. Plus some books I’ve been reading recently have done the same. (Should post reviews actually. Been on a major pre 1970’s kick lately with racing.)

    I worked at an ELF garage when Mansell was with Williams. We actually lost customers over Williams Renault stabbing Mansell in the back! The customers actually went to trouble of telling us why they weren’t coming back.

    And I agree on exciting drivers. But Lewis hasn’t really got into a serious balls out battle with anyone that I can remember. I’m talking at the level of Alonso vs Massa at Nurburgring last year.

    Don’t get me wrong. Anything I don’t like about Lewis has nothing to do with his ability in the car. I’d rather have a grid full of drivers with his ability than a grid full of Massa. If only because with the latter, the races would be a lot shorter:)

    Comment by Steve | March 26, 2008 | Reply


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