Monday, June 11, 2012


Hindsight being what it is (ie: always 20/20), one could argue that it should have been obvious that the attempt to single-stop Alonso to victory was never going to work.  The pit lane in Canada is too short, and the tire drop-off too severe, to manage to fend off a competitor in a ligher, much-fresher-rubbered car.  And in fact that is what happened.  Hamilton caught Vettel with ten to go, and Alonso three laps later.  And the Ferrari was powerless to resist as the McLaren went flying by.

You could argue that, only Red Bull apparently came to the same conclusion that it was worth a go.

So instead of wondering how McLaren got it wrong, we are left wondering how McLaren got it right when Red Bull and Ferrari both decided to single-stop.  Again, hindsight makes the McLaren choice obvious.  And I can't prove it, but I didn't feel good when Alonso kept going past again and again without stopping.  It just didn't seem possible.

It was a gamble, sure, but it was a gamble that turned a sure-fire second (worst-case third) into a fifth-by-the-skin-of-his-teeth.  Not quite Raikonnen's free-fall in China from the podium out of the top ten over the course of one lap.  But the problem is that with any non-trivial amount of running left to go, tires will beat track position.

In the old days this wouldn't have been true.  Without the benefit of DRS, ridiculous tire performance drop-off, and rules that act as an impediment to blocking, we would have been treated to a three or four lap duel between Hamilton and Vettel.  And maybe Alonso would have managed to further keep Hamilton back.

But we'll never know.  This is the Formula 1 we have.

Quick comments:

  • Nice that Massa recovered to collect a single point.  He was definitely on it until his early spin.  Now his performance level in general is improved, hopefully the results will start to come.
  • For all the preseason angst about the new car, Ferrari seems to be the most consistent of the regular runners.  Sure, luck helps, but you have to be near the front to capitalize on opportunity.
  • Bizarre podium that was only made possible by both Vettel and Alonso's teams making the wrong choice.  If they had both pitted, we probably would have had less drama (ie how low will the Ferrari go?) and a more "establishment" podium.  Oh, and Alonso would probably still be leading the Championship table.
  • Schumacher has 5 DNFs in 7 races?  Sure, some are mechanical, but some are... self-inflicted.  Unless he catches fire the rest of the season (which seems unlikely as Rosberg's performances have been dropping off lately because the rest of the teams have been doing a better job of car development than has Mercedes) I'd say the odds of him coming back are slim.