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A Walk in the Park

I don’t really like the word dominant at this stage, to be honest, because there is a long, long way to go.

That’s Sebastian Vettel being cautious/diplomatic/sportsmanlike/superstitious/some combination of those adjectives, as I suppose a world champion F1 driver probably must be after winning the first grand prix of the season. So that’s admirable. I, however, am not constrained by any such need, and my victorious finger-jabbing display of trash talking at 4:00 am this morning was truly unseemly.

Seb might not have felt as though the race was a walk in the park, but that’s pretty much what it looked like from where I was — from where most spectators were — sitting. The fact that this truly dominating victory was accomplished without the use of KERS just made it all the more impressive. Or, perhaps, a better word might be “ominous,” as far as his competitors are concerned.

It wasn’t a race of unadulterated happiness for the Red Bull fan, however. Not to take anything away from the impressive race run by Hamilton and Petrov, but Mark Webber ought to have been on that podium with his teammate. He doesn’t seem to know why he wasn’t, Christian Horner didn’t seem to have any post-race insight about that, either, and I think a lot of us are now waiting for some explanation of how Mark managed to be so far behind where he really should have been this weekend. It all reminded me of a few months ago in Abu Dhabi, actually.

Now, though, let’s talk about how I am SO RIGHT. About most things, clearly, but in particular about one Sergio Pérez. Yes, I’ll pause now and let you all marvel at my prescience. He finished SEVENTH, guys, and made only ONE pit stop, and even snagged fastest lap at one point. The fact that a couple millimeters of rear-wing radius has now deprived him of the points he earned does not detract from the greatness of his performance in his very first grand prix (or from my rightness), and I think people are still going to be talking about him as one of the drivers if not the driver of the race.

As a lover of rule following, I’m not necessarily inclined to rant at the stewards in this situation. If the Sauber rear wing violated the rules, then something needed to be done. But wow — this disqualification was gutting. And was disqualification truly the appropriate punishment? Even willful violations of the rules that result in a very clear alteration of a race result have, in the past, been punished with nothing more than a fine. It’s hard not to feverishly grasp at whatever straw might lessen Sauber’s punishment in this situation, because what was the major feel-good story of the race now feels considerably less good. To say the least.

Here’s another question I have that I have not seen answered, although it might have been: What exactly led to this test being performed on the Saubers after the race? Was it performed on all the cars, or was it the Saubers’ performance that led to it being performed on them specifically? Did the request come from one of the other teams? Okay, I suppose that was three questions — but if anyone reading this has answers, I’d love to know them.

Update: This ESPNF1 story describes the test as having been “random.”

Updated 3/31: Turns out they tested every car that finished the race.

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2 Responses

  1. Your question about the DQ & the “randomness” of the tests pose very conspiratorial questions. very F1 like for sure. The DQ does seem a bit harsh when a slap on the wrist via a hefty fine( $1) would have been more justified.

    • I don’t know — I’m probably naive, but I doubt there was really any sinister conspiracy. I was more wondering whether there was an element of, “Hmm, why is this rookie in a Sauber doing so well? We must investigate!” Mostly, I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a definitive answer anywhere. But as ESPNF1 says, I guess the test really was just random. Although it’s kind of annoying that that one word in one article is the best confirmation I’ve been able to find…

      I know Sauber is appealing the decision — but I wonder whether they can appeal the harshness of the penalty even if they can’t argue with the fact that the wing didn’t meet regulations? It really did seem kind of drastic.

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