The Master’s back!!!
It all started at the end of the last race in Australia when a disappointed Michael shot back at a journo saying that Ferrari will be back and that too very soon. And the prophesy came true in the very next race.
Throughout the entire race week, the whole motoring world was abuzz with only one topic – the resurgence of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. Alonso in all the interviews was playing the game of lowering the expectations least he were to be caught with a red face if Schumi were to take him on go past him at the Acque Minerali, the same corner in which Alonso got past Schumi in the last year’s race.
The whole week the entire media were trying to compare the test times of the Bridgestone’s to the Michelins to see if the former’s hard compounds were better suited to the hot conditions and if the restricted V10’s could match the improved V8’s. But all the press got was stoic silence from the Ferrari garage and usual smirk from Michael when ever he was in the public.
The qualifying was but a prelude to what was coming on Sunday and all that the fans hoped was a clean getaway at the first corner where the maximum accidents occur. But Schumi it seemed was in a different mood all together and it was one of those races were he was not bothered about mistakes or accidents.
The race began with Michael pulling away from the word go and from then on it was just time that he would put in the required 62 laps and go home. The safety car did curtail him but in the end it proved to be for his own good as he could stay on for an extra lap before fueling that got him the much needed positional advantage. But the drive that the master put on is what has been missing from F-1 for quite a while. The drive was neat, well timed and above all was very controlled. Clearly, the Ferrari 248F1 lacked the pace of the Renaults but Schumi got the overall package right.
But what the race will be remembered for and what it will stand out for was the duel between schumi and alonso in the last 20 laps. The whole time Alonso was pushing hard to get past Michael, the whole time was Michael soaking it all up and driving better and better. 168 race starts is something for any driver and all that experience can never go waste. Michael drove a slower car with such perfection that in the end Alonso was forced in a corner braking too late and veering of into the chicane. Such was the composure of Michael and the zeal to win that he held of Alonso for 20laps and went on to win.
The battle was a pure delight to any motoring enthusiast.
In the recent times, given to the domination of Ferrari and now Renault and the race being more than just driving but the actual setup, engines and budget the quality of F-1 in display has been debated on its loss of charm and intensity. But I really believe that a race of this kind where there is a challenger and a conqueror, a race which is decided on the track and not in the paddock and a race that enthuses a lot of energy into the audience is what will make F-1 the sport that it truly is.
And it would be wrong not to mention Jenson Button here as the most unlucky driver in F-1 today and there is nothing one can do but feel sorry for this amazingly talented driver. In the racing world for me if there is a driver who comes close to Michael, it’s Jenson. I still remember the first race in Australia in 2000 when as 20yr old he stunned the whole world when he finished 5th on his debut race and finished 7th overall in that season beating his Williams team mate Ralf by a good dozen points. Here is a guy who has the skill, the attitude and the tenacity to hold his own on the track but has been beaten back from success partly due to politics, stupidity and misfortune.
When Ferrari were scouting for a replacement for Ruben’s they should have grabbed Jenson with both hands but the politics of money and power saw that the contract of Jenson being renewed by Honda and instead Massa being signed on. Today, if given a reliable car and a pit crew that do their job, Jenson has the talent to take on any driver and win in any conditions.
It’s sad to sometimes see really talented drivers like Jenson being given a raw deal when totally pathetic drivers like Raikkonen, inspite of an awesome car, an amazing crew and a near perfect strategy just wasting away opportunities because of gross negligence and super heated ego’s. I meet so many Mclaren fan’s who act haughty and feel they are blue blooded and when they loose – which is almost every time – because of stupidity, they arrogantly console themselves saying that the gods and the entire mere mortal populace conspired against them. Common guys, you just need to drive to win. Insolent attitude and Slick packaging will not get you anywhere.
Last heard that Kimi is moving to Ferrari next year and I believe that will be the time when he will truly live up to the expectations of the “royal intelligentsia fans” that he has. But it will not be for his talent only, but will be for what Ferrari are and what they bring to the sport – a humble nature where the fans are given what they demand and the paying audience are treated to some quality action.