A report card with a hint of wittiness by Froldi Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Yesterday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix really put people’s coronary to the test. Highlights: Hamilton does his usual and stupid action (it’s not the first time that he slows down before a restart, and the fact that other pilots did the same thing before him is not a good excuse) and Vettel commits an intentional foul that would have meant disqualification. Anyway, Mercedes was expecting a double win but they got just Robottas’ (robot + Bottas) second place (it is useful mostly for the Constructors’ Championship) and Hamilton’s 5th place, which is the wholly defeated one. Vettel, with a less powerful car engine, manages to make it through the second part of the race after the restart, and he is able to earn 2 points in the World Championship standings. It’s hard to add the hint of wittiness after this Grand Prix, but I’ll give it a go.
Robottas. Score: A software update will be released soon. He was set up to hold back Vettel, but yesterday he picked the wrong Ferrari. An incident occurred during the race. That’s ok. But is it even possible that Terminator / Mr. Servant never gets a penalty? How many times did he damage Raikkonen?
Hamilton’s sportsmanship. Score: Who saw it? It makes me laugh a bit the fact that he accuses someone else of not being a man when everyone knows him as “cry baby” and yesterday, while the poor Robottas was racing, he asked the box to tell him to slow down in order to slow Vettel down and make it easier for him to overtake the Ferrarista. But Mercedes unexpectedly found some dignity and they didn’t allow him to do so.
Vettel. Score: fool. He was completely fooled by Lewis and the intentional fouls, even at 50km/h, should not exist in Formula1. Yesterday he did his best while driving, but he did his worst during some crucial moments. Of course, we understand his question “Why do I get a penalty and Hamilton doesn’t?”
Hamilton and his behaviour during the race. Score: Muhammad Ali. The great boxer, which I think is, along with Senna, an idol for the three-time world champion, had a “talent” (besides an exquisite technique): he used to psychologically sabotage his rivals by making fun of them. The same “talent” applies to Formula 1 when the S-Car is on the track and a pilot slows down in order to make the tires of the rival cool down and tease and make mad the rival himself. Hamilton does it pretty often, and yesterday they reminded him that he should do it less frequently. I can’t justify Vettel, but I can understand him. By the way, Senna never cried over the radio, neither did Mansell and Piquet. They would have pushed you off the track, if you misbehaved with them.
Vettel and Hamilton’s love story. Score: end credits? Guys, keep calm. You know, the course of true love never did run smooth. A little storm refreshes the passion. I think the two turtle doves will sort everything out and they will be back together, but if it doesn’t go like that… well, we’ll see some fiery challenges because, we know, a great love can turn into a great hate.
FIA official telemetry. Score: nonsense. They say they didn’t punish Hamilton because he did the same thing during the (I believe three) restarts. Someone said: he didn’t brake. But in the video we all saw that he brake, because it was red. My malicious translation is: if you try to be sly and you suddenly slow down as you enter the turn (from 80 to 40 km/h) and you do it at least three times, it’s ok. Villeneuve (which was involved in a infamous collision with the Kaiser in the 1997 F1 title decider race, which led to the Ferrari driver being excluded from that year’s world championship) referring to Hamilton said: “A pilot should never do those ugly things”. I’d like to know when the Federation is going to use on Hamilton the article 39.13 of the sporting regulation. I’ll write the interesting part, without any comments: “In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.”
Hamilton’s unsafe release. Score: another nonsense. Even if I don’t like the rule that says that if there is an unsafe release the pilot should be punished (but it’s not his fault), wasn’t it an unsafe release, being released while the side impact protection is flying away? And why didn’t the Federation immediately intervene? It has been the team’s autonomous and right choice to call Hamilton back to the box (it seemed like it was dangerous for himself and for the other pilots)… but nothing happened, no stop and go, no five-second penalty… nothing. Oh, the mysteries of this Formula 1!
Baku. Score: 3. It is one of the worst Tilke circuits; yesterday it gave us a great show, but without beating around the bush, it is not appropriate for these single-seaters. Don’t even get me started on the marshals around the track that looked like tourists that just happened to show up there.
Raikkonen. Score: Stoic. Sooner or later the bad luck will go away, but I suggest to Mr. Bwoah to go to Lourdes on pilgrimage.
S-Troll. Score: dopey. He was kissed by the fortune after the F1 lovers bet on him, he couldn’t believe on the 2nd place. It was in trance… that’s when Bottas overtook him.
Ricciardo. Score: the luck of the Irish. He couldn’t believe it. “I win?” “What?” “I didn’t smell the shoe for a long time”… “Am I dreaming or awake? Oh well, I’ll make S-Troll drink the champagne from the mephitic shoe”. Yes, you win, and I don’t mind at all.
Mad Max. Score: 7. He didn’t cause any crash at the start (what a surprise!), but karma struck again. He’s serving for all the blusters he did last year. Carry on (what a bliss)
Niki Lauda. Score: Awful. A friend of mine told me that Mercedes has to keep him for a while until he retires. Lauda keeps talking, and talking, and talking… but then, is it really important what he has to say?
Marc Gené. Score: Science fiction. Come on Marc, are you serious about the theory that Hamilton’s steering wheel steered by itself (possessed by Verstappen’s spirit)?
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Arrivabene. Score: Bravo. As you know, Iron Mauri is not my favourite, but yesterday he said something right. He defended the team and the pilot against a Formula 1 who keeps being Mercedes-centric (no, I’m not a conspirancy nut, but the importance of the three-pointed star is undeniable). Then, face to face, he may have told Vettel off. I’m going to copy this from my colleague Luca Dal Monte: “Ferrari never complained about certain situation that abroad people casually mark as mafia if they’re referred to Italy, I thought that certain estrangement manners should make room for the protection of our interests by any means possible”. Enzo Ferrari said that in the summer of 1976. I have nothing further to say.
S-Car vs. VS-Car. Score: the first one, without any doubt.
P.S.: I’m a Ferrari supporter, I don’t deny it and it’s not a fault. If you think that this report card is not impartial is ok. But I put my face on anything that I say, and I always try to explain in full knowledge of the facts. I’m going to bet with you: in a short amount of time the FIA is going to change the rules to restrict Hamilton’s (or somebody else’s) actions while the S-Car is on the track. And if the FIA will do that… well, you’ll know what it means.
by Mariano Froldi Translated by Isabella Lai