Well, that race pretty much sucked for so many reasons.
First of all, the race was on the Fox network instead of on the Speed Channel. Fox owns Speed and for four long races a year they show the race on network television instead of cable television. In theory, this is a good idea. It exposes more people to the wonders of Formula One, thus creating more American fans. In practice, however, the coverage is choppy, the announcers act like they are talking to a kindergarten class, and they don’t show the post-race press conferences, not that I cared about that this week.
This is the second reason this race sucked:
FOM is notorious about taking down video clips from F1 races, so if it has been pulled, just google “Mark Webber crash Valencia”. It was horrible. He was trying to pass Heikki Kovalienen’s Lotus when their wheels touched. Webber got launched into the air at about 190 miles an hour. He went airborn, landed upside down, rolled over and slammed into the tire barrier. And then, incredibly, he walked away. He’s fine. Not even a concussion. The car did an amazing job of keeping Webber safe. But let this be a reminder to you, racing is dangerous, and it always will be.
This crash let to the final reason that this race sucked. After the start it was Sebastien Vettel first, that Lewis Hamilton second, and the lovely and talented Fernando Alonso third. But after Webber’s crash race control deployed the safety car. Coming out of the pits that Lewis Hamilton passed the safety car right at the line, and trapped Alonso behind it. So when all was said and done Hamilton was in second place, and Alonso ended up in ninth. Did I mention that it is very much against the rules to pass the safety car? It is.
After the safety car and the usual chaos that ensued Kamui Kobayashi ended up in third place in his (rather slow) Sauber car. Now, the European Grand Prix is on a street track in Valencia, Spain. It is not easy to pass on this track, and because of this Kobayashi managed to hold up the pack giving Vettel and Hamilton a huge gap on the rest of thei field.
Meanwhile the stewards finally got off their asses and gave Hamilton a drive through penalty for passing the safety car. But of course, by that time, he had such a huge lead that he served his penalty and still came out in second place. Disgusting. It was completely unfair.
Yes, I know sometimes the safety car helps you and sometimes it hurts you, and yes I know he was penalized and served his penalty. But there is no way he should have been able to retain his position. It was like the stewards were trying to find a way to look like they were penalizing him without actually costing him anything. This year the unwritten rule in the stewards room seems to be unless somebody actually gets killed (heaven forbid), it’s all good. Just try not to look like you are breaking the rules.
Oh, and Sebastian Vettel won. Hooray for him.