Following China’s slight cock up in releasing a statement to the press regarding the successful launch of her first manned space rocket, when the rocket was still securely planted on terra firma, BoggartBlog was fascinated to receive the results of Sunday’s GP.
Another exciting weekend for F1 fans as Felipe Massa effectively clinched the F1 drivers title, despite not finishing the race earlier today.
The drama started before the grid had even formed up, when Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, the current championship leader, was given a 10 second penalty for looking at Kimi Raikonnen “a bit funny”. In the view of the stewards this was a tactic designed to put Raikonnen off, and could have impaired his prospects in the race.
Hamilton consequently had to start from the back of the grid, forfeiting the brilliant pole position he secured in the final qualifying session, despite running on full tanks as the Stewards had insisted that this was the new reqirement, only to retract this edict when it was shown that nobody else in the pitlane had been ordered to run on full tanks.
Although the McLaren team professed themselves dismayed at the blatant bias against their driver, Hamilton showed true maturity in accepting the punishment and vowing “just to get on with the job, get my head down and drive to win.”
The start itself was explosive, with Fernando Alonso storming up from the third row and slipping down the inside of Robert Kubica in third, before locking up the brakes and missing the first corner, forcing cars to take to the grass to avoid a collision.
Alonso was adamant that this was all down to Hamilton’s dangerous style of driving, which was a little hard to credit as Hamilton had only managed to make up five places in the first 100 yards and was well behind the Spaniard at the time.
However, the stewards took Alonso’s part and Hamilton was given a drive through penalty, thus losing the ground he had made up and over half a lap to the leaders.
Back out at the front the two Ferraris were battling it out, with Massa all over the gear box of the resurgent Finn. Sensing a chance to slip by in the chicane, Massa ran wide and ended up in the gravel trap. The safety car was immediately deployed, whilst the marshalls pushed the stricken Ferrari out of the kitty litter and then bump started it to get it back in the race. Several teams appealed against this, as push starting is outside the rules, however the stewards over-ruled the appeals by claiming that Massa’s car had been interfering with the progress of the race and needed to be moved.
Massa was then allowed to pass the safety car to regain the lap he had lost, but was now tucked up behind Hamilton.
Despite all the set-backs Hamilton was in “the zone”, and as soon as the green flags were waved he began his task of overhauling the cars in front of him, leaving Massa floundering in his wake.
Driving like a man posessed he scythed through the backmarkers, making up eight places in the restart lap. He then proceeded to reel in the Toro Rosso pair who were battling it out for 9th and 10th. Whilst the team mates were locked in their own battle Hamilton drove smoothly past the pair of them down the start finish straight, a move which once again incurred the scrutiny of the stewards.
Back up at the front Raikonnen was having a hard time staving off the charging Kubica, who himself was being harrassed by both Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.
With the pit stops looming there was everything to play for, but disaster struck again in the pits for Raikonnen, when once again the electronic relase mechanism failed to work properly, the light swithching to green after the Ferrari had been stationary for just 3 seconds. With the adrenalin pumping Raikonnen was pure reaction and was halfway down the pit lane before he realised that he was running on his brake discs, as the mechanics had not had time to fit the new wheels. However as the fuel hose was still attached, he really was lighting up the pitlane as the sparks from the brake discs ignited the fuel.
The stewards immediately closed the pit lane whilst the fire was extinguished, the injured mechanics taken to the medical centre and the debris tidied up.
By now the cars on the track were queuing to enter the pits, unable to continue as their fuel supplies ran dangerously low, all apart from Hamilton, who had of course started on full tanks.
Hamilton knew what he had to do and kept the hammer down, banging in fastest lap after fastest lap with metronomic precision and opening up what appeared to be an unassailable five lap lead.
The pit lane finally re-opened the stewards announced yet another inquiry into Hamilton’s driving, claiming that it was unfair that he had been carrying so much fuel. They then issued a penalty to fit the crime and Hamilton was reqired to come in and top up the tanks every five laps.
Massa, meanwhile was still languishing down the order and was quickly being caught by the race leader, Adrian Sutil in the force India car. Seeing the blue flags Massa appeared to be making room on the right for the young driver to pass, however as Sutil drew up alongside, Massa edged over forcing the car into the pit wall and out of the race and sending himself into a spin.
A charging Hamilton had to swerve to avoid the Ferrari at which point Massa’s car regained traction and lunged into the back of Hamilton’s car ending both their races.
The stewards were quick to announce an investigation into the incident, suffice to say the Force India team were stunned to learn that the stewards deemed the first incident to be Sutil’s fault, whilst the blame for the second incident was laid firmly at Hamilton’s door. Massa was duly given 10 points for not finishing the race whilst Hamilton has been given a 10 place grid penalty for the start of the final race.
Max Mosley, head of the FIA, denied that the stewards had been biased towards Massa and against Hamilton but did say that none of the punishments were subject to appeal.