Sunday, 19 April 2009

Driver reports

How did everyone's race go?
The field started behind a safety car, due to treacherous conditions at the start. The safety car came in after 8 laps, ruining some strategies. The track never dried out, although time did drop from 1min 59s to 1min53s at one point. Congratulations to the 16 drivers who finished, judging by the amount of spins, aquaplaning was a major problem. Any one of them could have been taken out entirely, throuhg no fault of their own, at more or less any point.

Here are my reports, in race finish order:
Vettel - Faultless performance. Helped by good visibility, more or less throughout. Also had the best car in the conditions (this was also apparent in Malaysia where they could almost match Glock on the wrong tyres). Congratulations, thoroughly deserved.
Webber - No hard luck story, merely the second best driver/car on the day. Good fight with Jenson in the middle of the race.
Button - Disadvantaged by the safety car, coming out a few laps before he would have stopped anyway. Outpaced his teammate for 3 periods - overtaking him early on, when Rubens was stuck in traffic and at the end when on newer tyres.
Barrichello - Shouldn't have let Button slip past him. Was hugely disadvantaged by safety car, as he slipped behind Raikkonen, Hamilton and a couple of others - the poor visibility and traffic cost him 2secs a lap. Unlucky that conditions deteriorated after he'd kept his existing wet tyres on (had conditions continued improving he'd have been on Jenson's tail, not having the McLarens on his).
Kovaleinen - Finished a lap, finished a race, beat his world champion teammate. A fairly anonymous race, without errors. Strategy worked well for him, staying out very long and 1 stopping.
Hamilton - Overtook many, many cars, but fell off the road far too often. Still, realisitically he wasn't going to get a much better result.
Glock - Started from pit-lane, enabling him to change strategy. Took his only pit stop after damaging his front wing, but had the pace to fight through to 7th. Well done.
Buemi - It seems that Toro Rosso have got another star-in-the-making. Was running in the top 4 at times, due to strategy. Only mistake came where he didn't see Vettel slowing down as the SC came out. A mistake similar to that made by Vettel in Fuji '07.
Alonso - Made a mistake stopping early under the safety car. He probably had enoguh fuel for 3 racing laps. Went from last and 20s behind Vettel to last and 37s behind within 3 laps of restart - had he waited, he oculd have emerged from the pits mid-pack, and might well have scored points.
Raikkonen - Another race without points for Ferrari. What's worse is that he just wasn't quick enough in the conditions (much like Melbourne in the dry).
Bourdais - Overshadowed by his teammate, but racy at times. I wasn't paying him much attention, but I think he got a little unlucky on strategy calls, but only really deserved 11th.
Heidfeld - One stopped, but too early. His car was fuelled as long as Hamilton, and had he followed McLaren's strategy he wouldn't have faded from 9th to 12th (despite Sutil dropping out) at the end on worn out wet tyres.
Kubica - Anonymous except for the moment where he climbed over the back of a slow moving Trulli. This brought out the safety car, minimising his losses. Car not quick enough, in short.
Fisichella - Overshadowed by his much younger teammate. An anonymous race at the back of the pack - perhaps his car wasn't well balanced on fuel/wet tyres.
Rosberg - Disappointing. Made the same mistake as Alonso, without having the excuse of being as short-fuelled. Never got far through the traffic before risking intermediates as conditions reached their best with 16 laps to go. Rain returned which forced him to change back 8 laps later.
Piquet - Not as fast as his team-mate, but he didn't have the upgrades to the car. Must do better soon, though.
Sutil - Great race, until his car escaped him near the end. 6th place would have been a great reward for his strong wet-weather performances over the past 2 years. He'll mange it next time.
Nakajima - Terrible. Eventually retired towards the end after leaving the track several times, and getting overtaken by his teammate.
Massa - Was on the pace with the McLaren until his car gave up the ghost under the safety car. Shame for Ferrari, as they might have got some points.
Trulli - Worst driver of the day. He had already been overtaken by his teammate (who started from the pits, whilst Trulli started 6th) before Kubica mounted the back of his car. Nothing he could do, thereafter.

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