Another week, another controversy, and this time it’s Ferrari in the crosshairs. But, first things first.
Sebastian Vettel was on pole (again) for Red Bull. But Fernando Alonso was second in his nice red Ferrari and his teammate Felipe Massa was third. Massa has not had a great year so far so I was happy for him. And of course, thrilled for Alonso. Hamilton qualified fourth even though he wrecked his car during practice on Friday. So props to the McLaren mechanics for getting the thing rebuilt.
When the lights went out Vettel blew the start. Again. Somebody really needs to teach that boy how to start from pole. Anyway, he was so worried about trying (unsuccessfully) to squeeze Alonso off the track that Massa slipped right by both of them into the lead. Alonso managed to hang onto second place and Vettel slipped back to third.
And that is pretty much the race, folks. Alonso tried to pass Massa once early in the race but Massa was having none of it. Alonso had no choice but to settle into second place. And then, on lap 46(ish) Massa’s race engineer radioed to say Alonso is quicker behind you, please acknowledge you understood this message. At that point Massa moved aside and let Alonso pass. He says he did it because he was having trouble managing the hard tires and he made the decision. The media and pretty much everybody else in F1 besides me is calling foul.
What I just described could be interpreted as team orders. And in fact, I’m sure that’s what they were. As we have discussed team orders are illegal in Formula 1 and you are not allowed to ask one teammate to move over for the other. But it happens all the time.
Now, I know I was incandescent with rage after the German Grand Prix in 2008 when Heikki Kovaleinin got the same message on his radio from McLaren and moved over to let his teammate Lewis Hamilton pass. But that was Lewis and this is Fernando, and yes I am just that shallow. At least I’ll admit it.
But really, the order made sense this time. Alonso still has a chance (however small) at the World Driver’s Championship. Massa, at 67 points behind the WDC leader does not. So, the team had the drivers switch places to give themselves their best shot at a WDC.
I am sure Ferrari would have asked Alonso to move over for Massa if the tables had been turned and Massa was within striking distance of the WDC. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.
The next race is the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend. I am not entirely sure I wat to watch it. Bad things always seem to happen at the Hungaroring.