Monday, June 27, 2011

F1 Europe 2011

The Valencia track has never produced exciting racing and this one was no exception. During the early stages of the race, Vettel, Webber, Alonso were close to each other, which offered tantalizing possibilities of good racing to come, but that never materialized. There was some action lower down the field but nothing at the sharp end of the racing order. Thanks to the Pirelli tires, DRS, and Kers, the race was better than previous years but it was not a barn burner by any stretch.

In fact, it was very much a return to regularly scheduled programming as Vettel and Redbull dominated both qualifying and race day. Vettel's win looked quite serene. Second place was like a win for Ferrari who were reasonably competitive but were still not capable of challenging Redbull for a win. Webber had a good race, but lost the chance for a second place finish when he changed to the prime tire too early, and then had to nurse an ailing gearbox to the finish. Mclaren was way off the pace and were quite disappointing with Hamilton and Button finishing fourth and sixth respectively.

The next few races are critical for Ferrari and McLaren if they have any hope of challenging Redbull this season. Both teams must deliver upgrades that will enable their drivers to race for wins, because second or worse is not going to be enough any more. The season is not lost yet but the point where conceding this season and focusing on next year's car is not far away.

I am still hopeful that Webber can challenge Vettel but it depends on Webber getting a better feel for the Pirelli tires. Webber has acknowleged that this is one reason he has been out performed by Vettel this season, even though they are driving identical cars.

The bottom line is someone needs to start chipping away Vettel's points lead. And soon.

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