Firstly, I have to say that I missed the race live (due to not checking dates when making plans last month), so I wasn’t able to watch with my usual race day set up. Thanks to the excellent F1 Timing App however, I was able to download the race timing data onto my iPad & follow this as ‘live’ while catching up, which helped in seeing how various strategies were playing out.
This did mean however, having to avoid the internet & social networks throughout the day to avoid spoiling the results until I could catch up, and also making sure I didn’t catch any form of new bulletin which may have given away what happened in the race too. I managed to do that, so to people who I have seen commenting about race spoilers on twitter, avoid the internet if you want to avoid spoilers.
Onto the race itself, I have to mention the tyres. Pirelli will no doubt take the flak over the failures seen over the weekend, but surely the teams should be looking at themselves for allowing a situation like this to occur in the first place? As is the way in F1, teams need a unanimous agreement to make any changes through the regulations, but typically they never all agree on anything. I’m sure if anyone asked all 11 teams what day of the week it was; I doubt they would even be able to agree on that!
They had the chance to change the tyres, but some teams couldn’t agree, believing it would favour the likes of Red Bull for a performance advantage. Pirelli have brought prototype tyres at the last two races for teams to test, but wet Friday’s in Canada & Britain have meant a lack of running on those tyres.
Anyone care to explain how Pirelli are supposed to make improvements to the 2013 tyres when they can only use Friday sessions to test new products or have the option of using a 3 year old Renault test mule? I hope the teams & the FIA sort this situation out, because now it has become a safety issue.
Personally I don’t believe it was the kerbs that caused the delaminations that we saw during the race, if that was the case, we probably would have seen a lot more failures. Saying that, I did notice that some teams were telling their drivers that they saw cuts to tyres after pitstops. I’m no tyre engineer, so I’ll leave Pirelli to make the assessment of what happened to those tyres. It should be worth noting that we saw 3 medium compound failures (Hamilton & Massa’s both leading onto the Wellington Straight, with Sergio Perez’s failure on Hangar Straight) & one hard compound tyre failure (Jean Eric Vergne on Hangar Straight).
Speaking of JEV’s failure, I suggest to everyone to look back at that failure from the Kimi Raikkonen on-board footage. As the tyre blew & caused floor damage, you can clearly see that a piece of carbon fibre from the Toro Rosso landed on Kimi’s left glove.
Only finally point about these tyre failures, it was interesting that when we saw the delaminations, we didn’t see the steel belt staying intact as has previously been seen in Bahrain & Catalunya for example.
Now the race… more of a question of what could have been from the front runners. I thought Lewis did a great job to get up to 4th after his tyre failure, as did Paul di Resta for fighting his way up from the back of the grid. Both were helped with the safety car periods closing the field, but you take the luck when you can get it. Incidentally, the lap long battle with both those drivers was great to watch.
There were some excellent fights all down the field, with 2 laps to go I honestly thought Mark Webber could get himself past the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg to take the win, but it was still an excellent 2nd place after a poor start & finding himself down the back of the field with a damaged front wing early in the race.
I think we saw some of the best racing all season at Silverstone, with drivers fighting for position around the whole track, yes DRS made some moves seem quite easy, but there was a lot of passing going on around the Woodcote-Luffield section & down the old pit straight.
A lot of that racing was helped by the safety car period towards the end of the race for Sebastian Vettel’s retirement, and although some cars were on fresher tyres, the likes of Webber, Alonso & Hamilton fought their way up through the field quite well in those last few laps.
Incidentally, speaking of the safety car periods, I do think allowing the lapped cars to unlap themselves does prolong the safety car period too much, I think that there should be a change, if there is a safety car early in the race, release the lapped cars as quickly as possible and allow them to go a bit quicker to re-join the pack (obviously slowing down sufficiently at the point of the incident). If there is a safety car say after 3/4 race distance, any lapped cars should drop to the back of the pack, yes they will still be a lap down, but that clears them out of the way for the leaders & means that the race will be able to resume quicker.
Going back to Vettel’s retirement, one thing I didn’t appreciate is the cheering when Vettel retired. Yes I can understand why he is jeered (not just in Britain I might add, have heard him being booed at other tracks round the world), but from a sporting point of view, we are watching a great driver, and a multiple world champion. I know some of his actions (Malaysia this year) can be questionable, but you can’t deny his talent & I know long into the future we’ll look back on his career & see that he achieved something special. Yes there are comparison with Michael Schumacher, and he does win a lot (plus that pointed finger thing does get annoying at times), but the greats inevitably do, and despite him winning the title in the last few years, we are still seeing some great racing through the grid.
My final thought, with the news that Mark Webber is to leave the sport at the end of this year, I wish him all the best with Porsche in WEC next year. I especially hope he has better luck at Le Mans than his last time there with Mercedes.
As Mark is a previous Monaco GP winner, I would hope he might be considering a shot at the Triple Crown one day (Monaco GP, 24 Hours of Le Mans & the Indianapolis 500, only achieved once by Graham Hill) but I know that is highly unlikely. It would be nice to see a driver have a go at matching Graham Hill’s achievement (incidentally, Juan Pablo Montoya currently has 2 of these 3 wins to his name, an Indy 500 win in 2000 & a Monaco GP win in 2003. Has anyone asked him to give Le Mans a shot?)
Back to F1, we’re in July & there are still 11 races left! There is still a lot of racing to come in 2013, and not long to wait until the next race.