Wednesday, May 11, 2011

F1 Turkey 2011

Wow! Considering I almost didn't get to see the race, it was worth the wait. With the exception of Vettel, who basically led the race from start to finish, there was great wheel-to-wheel (and wheel-banging) action all the way down the field. For the second race in a row, Webber demonstrated great race craft by passing Alonso when it counted. Most memorable pass was Button going around the outside of Rosberg in turn fourteen, which is not the usual tactic in that corner. Unfortunately Button opted for a three stop strategy which did not work well for him.

Ferrari made a noticable step forward which allowed Alonso to get the team's first podium of the season. MacLaren seemed to a have slipped back a little which is not good news as Redbull had a few major improvements. The development race is just beginning in earnest now, so nobody can afford to slip back too much.

Kobayashi continues to impress after starting dead last in twenty third and finishing tenth. Not as big a jump as Webber in China, but Kobayashi was driving a Sauber, not a Redbull! Kobayashi is rapidly becoming my favourite of the new drivers. Watching him make a passing manoeuvre is pure delight. His driving style suits the new regulation this year which makes passing an important skill again.

The DRS zone in this race was not well placed which made the passing much too easy. The FIA is still learning where the DRS zone should be placed so it's hard to be too critical, but I wish they would consult the drivers more on the DRS location. Curiously, due the nature of the circuit, there was as much passing happening outside the DRS zone, so perhaps not having one should be a option.

The burning question is who will be the next driver to beat Vettel? Driving an identical car, Webber has the best chance but Vettel qualified 0.4s faster than Webber. He will need to dig deep to find that much more speed within himself. Or try a radical strategy. But the other drivers can try that too, so it is not as good as driving faster.

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