Aug 12, 2010

Where's the championship heading?

The deadening summer break is here with a two week mandatory shutdown back at the factories and no sound of the V8 for a further week. Ouch, it's so ho-hum it hurts! The intriguing races prior to the break left us fans with hope of a nail biting finish to the championship finale at Abu Dhabi with as much as five drivers and three constructors in with a shout.

Redbull is the team to beat with an unmatched qualifying pace coupled with a competitive race pace and controlled by two very good pilots behind the wheels. Vettel might be gutted post Hungary to loose out on what seemed like an easy way out to the flag but only to be undone by some inconsistent stewarding, yet again. How can they measure 10 car length? I seriously wonder! Webber meanwhile is picking up pieces very well. The odds of him winning the title are minimal but the kind of show he puts up for the fans is worth taking a look. Leading the championship is no mean feet with just seven races to go.

If there's a group of restless souls breaking their heads, it's back at Woking in the UK as the badge board says "McLaren Mercedes". They were left strangling with the so called midfield team Renault at a high downforce Hungaroring. They clearly couldn't match the Ferraris and the Redbulls on an ultimate lap and their race pace too looked sluggish. Hamilton's leading from Button by a perfect ten but Button's no easy route. So far so good at woking as McLaren is treating their drivers equally but as we all know, equality brings tension and with two British drivers at the wheels of a British car, one would be brave to place harmony alongside them. Coming up are two low downforce tracks which could help McLaren bridge the gap, like they did in Montreal.

If Ferrari is not the team to beat, surely is the team at the spotlight but how I wish for the right reasons. A controversial German GP saw the media taking a dig which looked like a verbal onslaught. Some of the questions thrown were so embarrassing that one would have to stand up and applaud the PR managers of both Fernando and Felipe. The team has cuddled behind Fernando and Massa is his rear gunner for the rest of the season which by the looks of it is advantage Spaniard over the other four contenders whom I have mentioned. A no:1 driver means he gets the upgrades first, has a better say on the testing performances, better strategy for both quali and race etc. But being Alonso the demanding personality, I doubt he would please any neutral by winning the crown for the third time anyhow.

So all five drivers are in with a chance but gone are those days when you could afford to play conservative by cruising to the championship. Just like 2007 and 2008, this one too will go down to the wire. Don't worry about the FIA test if you are a Redbull fan because I'm sure their pace comes from somewhere else, somewhere at the back. :P McLaren needs to buck up and they sure will as Spa is a power circuit. Vettel edges Webber on raw talent but is trailing the Aussie by ten points. It will be interesting to see how the strategies poise at the two England outfits though with teammates fighting and taking points off each other.

All to play for, oh yeah, bring the xmas early!