Oh! Oh! I know! It’s the bit when ITV cut to a commercial break at the most exciting moment of the race!
Yes, thanks to ITV’s diplomatic cut to a commercial break with just three laps to go, at the most exciting point of the race, nobody’s talking about BAR’s sudden rise to a podium finish, or the fact that the car was underweight. Ralf Schumacher’s 25 second penalty has barely registered on the radar. Instead, everybody’s going on about the commercial break. I actually ran for the radio to switch on Radio Five Live.
Well, it is difficult for ITV. I’m not one to defend ITV, as regular readers will know, but there’s not an awful lot they could really have done. They showed the final three laps straight after the race aswell, which was good of them — but what if Schumi passed him?
Apparently they’ve always wanted to delay broadcast during the commercials TiVo stylee, but Bernie Ecclestone wouldn’t let them. Mind you, it would be pretty rubbish to find out who won the race about fifteen minutes after it happened.
Formula 1 must be the only thing that ITV have ever done better than the BBC though. I can remember it. Little in the way of pre-race build-up. No roving reporters catching interviews with angry drivers straight after they get out the car (except Tony Jardine who only ever talked about the pitstops as I recall). No gridwalk from Martin Brundle. Just Steve Rider sitting there in a dimly lit London broom cupboard looking bored off his arse. Qualifying wasn’t always even shown — these days we grumble if it isn’t live.
As for the race itself, I found it deadly boring until the last sixteen-or-so laps. As for Massa vs Coulthard, Massa was clearly at fault, although it’s the sort of racing you’d really like to see more of. And I couldn’t believe how easily Jenson Button let Michael Schumacher past. Indeed, I couldn’t believe how Schumi came from seemingly nowhere.
One interesting thing about the season so far is that the pecking order is less obviously determined by the pace of the cars. Alonso is clearly scoring far more points than Fisichella; Trulli has been more impressive than Ralf Schumacher; Michael is scoring more than Barrichello; Coulthard is clear leader at Red Bull Racing; if the same driver had always driven the second McLaren car he would be 3rd in the championship…