This is the second part of my British Grand Prix review. Read the first part here.
You have to hand it to BMW. Just like France, the British GP weekend didn’t look like it was shaping up too well for them.
Robert Kubica had to completely abandon Q3 (thereby qualifying 10th by default) due to a car issue. The dampers had to be changed overnight meaning that the Pole was effectively driving a car he had never driven before during the race. In the end he put in a plucky performance, running in third until he aquaplaned off 21 laps from the end. You could call it Kubica’s first mistake of the season, and I was immensely disappointed to see him make an error.
Nick Heidfeld, meanwhile, drove a stormer. Qualifying was good by Heidfeld’s standards. He started 5th on the grid and it looks as though Quick Nick has finally solved his tyre heat issues. And in the race he did a more than solid job. Not only did he keep it on the racetrack, but he also had a few overtaking moves up his sleeve. An audacious, opportunistic double overtake was pulled off while Kovalainen and Räikkönen were more concerned with each other. This effectively put him in second place.
Renault had another poor race. If you look at the lap chart, Fernando Alonso was absolutely all over the place. The team gambled by opting to keep Alonso on worn inters. It was the same gamble as Ferrari made, and the result was pretty similar. All things considered, I suppose Alonso should be pleased with his 6th place finish.
But Nelsinho Piquet overtook Alonso for the second race in a row and was looking really good until he spun off while in 4th place. Maybe the Brazilian really is on the up.
Meanwhile, Williams continue to disappoint. The real headscratcher for me is Nico Rosberg. I think it is getting to the stage now where Williams should be docking his wages for every front wing he trashes. That guy can’t stop getting into little incidents. People complain about DC crashing all the time — but look at Rosberg. Not impressive.
Kazuki Nakajima continues to do a solid job picking up the points. Kudos to him. At one point he was in last place, so to plough his way back up to 8th is good going.
The Williams pair are now equal on points. When one of them in considered to be an awesome hot-shot and the other is seen to be there just because he allows Williams to have cheap Toyota engines, you have to wonder just what is going on with Rosberg. You can’t even say he’s had an undue amount of bad luck. He is simply not performing to the standard that we are led to believe he has in him.
Talking of the Championship, it just gets better and better! The top three drivers are all equal on 48 points, and fourth-placed Kubica is just two points down on that. Kubica could well have been leading the championship again if it wasn’t for his spin.
After I criticised McLaren for failing to fully capitalise on their supposed advantage at Monaco and Canada, I have to applaud them for pulling this out of the bag. This is a truly unpredictable season.
It’s like last year but even better. You turn up to each track not quite knowing who is going to have the upper-hand between Ferrari and McLaren. But this time the Drivers Championship is even closer. Plus there is the added element of BMW who are still plugging away near the top.
The midfield race is also pretty hot. Beforehand it looked as though the teams from 4th to 7th were really close. But now Toyota and Red Bull have pulled out a bit of a lead and just a point separate them in the battle for 4th. Meanwhile, Honda have pulled themselves into contention in the race for 6th place. The battle covers Williams, Renault and Honda and the gap between the three teams is just two points.
This is the half-way stage of the season. Not too long ago we would have seen Ferrari having practically wrapped up both titles by now.
Not only is the championship close, but the races are amazing as well. For my money, the British GP was the fifth amazing grand prix in a row. We are well overdue a boring race. Every time I think the next one will be boring, but it isn’t! In short, 2008 is awesome. If the new aero rules for 2009 bring us boring races and a Championship dominated by one team, I will run into a brick wall.