This past weekend has seen the beginning to the real heart of the motor racing season with the opening rounds for Formula One and Indycar still fresh in our minds I will look back on some of their finer points.
Indycar’s opening race, The Honda Grand Prix of Saint Petersburg was plagued by the new double file restarts, resulting in four caution periods in the first 15 laps! By the time the race got itself sorted out Chip Ganassi’s Dario Franchitti, fresh off of winning last season’s championship prooved he is still the man to beat by dominating the race.
There was a similar story in Formula One, current World Champion Sebastian Vettel, dominant in qualifying simply ran off and left the field to win by 20 seconds. At times Lewis Hamilton matched his pace and incredibly so did Sauber’s rookie Sergio Perez. Perez, amidst all the drama and degredation of the Pirelli tires managed to stop only once, astounding his team, the Pirelli engineers and no doubt the entire paddock!
Sauber and Scuderia Toro Rosso led the midefield whilst the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were curiously off pace, allowing the podium positions to be occupied by Vettel, Hamilton and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov who gave the drive of his career to achieve his first podium in only his 20th F1 race. Not only was it his first podium in F1, but the first podium of any Russian driver in the sport. It was a proud day for him, for his country and for Renault who seem to have the pace to compete with the big boys.
Sadly absent from that big guns competition were the Mercedes W-02’s of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Rosberg punted out of the race by an overly enthusiastic Rubens Barrichello, and Schumacher likewise suffering damage too great to repair after being rear ended by STR’s Jaime Alguersuari at the start. Despite the lacklustre start by Brawn’s boys, one statistic of incredible and temporary stature cold not escape my mind:
Until the next race in Malaysia, Michael Schumacher will have won as many grand prixs as all the other winning drivers currently on the grid combined. Even if 2011 follows suit and proves a dissapointment for Schumacher like 2010 did, we should all turn an appreciative eye to history and marvel at all the man has accomplished.