That was a strange race. It wasn’t very exciting, then it got very exciting, and then it became very boring again. A few points.
First of all, I am not at all sure we television viewers got the full story of the race. It is a shame, but you can really tell these days whether the coverage is being done by FOM or a host broadcaster (RAI in today’s race). Today’s coverage was woeful. It needlessly concentrated on the front-runners even when nothing was happening — and it’s not just an Italy / Ferrari bias. We got laps and laps of Fernando Alonso doing absolutely nothing with no cars around him. Wouldn’t that have been a perfect opportunity to take a look further back in the field so that we could get a better taste of the race further back? We never even saw it when, for instance, Coulthard and Sato retired.
Martin Brundle and James Allen also seemed frustrated, commenting that we weren’t getting nearly as much Team Radio as we get on the FOM broadcasts. It really is a shame, because FOM have got a real knack of selecting great radio messages to broadcast, and it really adds loads to the coverage. We got none of that today. I suppose we should really be grateful for the wonderful coverage FOM bring us these days, but some of the host broadcasters really need to get their act together to get up to the same standard, or FOM ought to handle every race because it’s obvious now that FOM really know how to broadcast a Formula 1 race.
Right. So for the parts of the race we did see. Is Yuji Ide‘s surname short for Idiot? How many chassis have Super Aguri got for him to be doing stupid things like crashing into Albers like that?
Where the hell are McLaren? I really am scratching my head. Juan Pablo Montoya got a podium finish, but his race was very anonymous and I have a feeling it was as much down to mistakes by Massa and Button that gifted him 3rd position. Kimi Räikkönen really worries me though. He was seriously anonymous in that race — he should be managing better than 5th. Alonso already has twice as many points in the championship as Kimi, and he shows little sign of being a serious challenger this year.
I am beginning to seriously dislike Honda. Are they a joke team? Have we got them confused with Super Aguri? I’ve been watching Formula 1 for long enough to know that accidents in the pitlane are inevitable, but what happened with Button’s second stop today really shouldn’t be happening. As far as I could tell, nothing went wrong with the pitstop, and everything was going to plan. Yet the lollipop man took his eye off the ball and raised the lollipop while the fuel nozzle was still on.
Luckily, the lollipop man realised his mistake and brought the lollipop back down. Drama over, right? Err, no. Jenson Button needs to get a clue: if the lollipop comes back down it is not a sign that you should keep the accellerator floored until you’re halfway down the pitlane. Button broke the fuel rig and the nozzle was still attatched when he was halfway down the pitlane, and he toppled over half of his mechanics as well. Not clever from Honda; two people completely lost their concentration there and it cost them big time. I’m amazed there wasn’t a big fire as well.
I’ll end here with Ferrari. It’s Ferrari’s first proper win since Suzuka 2004 (we don’t talk about USGP 05). It’s good to get a non-Renault winning for a change, but I wouldn’t get too excited for a big Michael Schumacher / Fernando Alonso championship battle. Ferrari are usually great at Imola — remember last year when Schumacher had a brilliant battle with Alonso at the front in the San Marino Grand Prix. Yet for the rest of the year they were nowhere.
A few final questions: BMW were disappointingly slow, and Toyota seem determined to prove that the podium in Australia was a complete fluke. And where was Nico Rosberg? Disappointingly anonymous. Giancarlo Fisichella was nowhere — and he got knocked out in qualifying yesterday. Although he got 11th place where you can choose your own fuel load, he was unable to capitalise. Rubens Barrichello was also unable to capitalise on his brilliant qualifying performance. Lots of bad races for big names today.