It was the Silverstone Grand Prix today and although it wasn’t as exciting as Canada, it was infinitely better than Valencia which was a snooze-fest. Fernando Alonso won, which was ridiculously brilliant. He put in a barn-storming drive today and although he jumped Vettel during the pit-stops, at the speed he was going I have no doubt he’d have been able to take him on the track easily. I was surprised, actually at just how quick Fernando was and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for it to all go wrong. But it didn’t! And he won, which was just brilliant. I am rather gutted that he doesn’t do his animal-impression celebrations any more mind. Bring ’em back Fernando. With any luck this will be his first win of many this season.
The big story though was Red Bull. There’s been a big massive row over off-throttle thingymabob which I think is sorted and which I REALLY have no idea what it actually IS, but like I said: That’s sorted now apparently. No, Red Bull’s under fire because two laps from the end (or maybe three or four, depending on when the radio transmission went out) Mark Webber who was rapidly catching Sebastian Vettel for second place was told to “maintain the gap”. Everyone is now in outrage that Webber was essentially given team orders. Honestly, I find it annoying. As much as I like to see wheel-to-wheel racing, team orders is now allowed and is legal in F1. I can understand why Red Bull were understandably worried. Last year in Turkey the two collided and I must admit, despite the fact I think they’re both brilliant drivers, even I was panicking seeing the way Mark was catching Sebastian.
However I think everyone’s getting their panties in a bunch for no reason. First off: It’s entirely up to the Red Bull team what they do with their drivers. Quite frankly, two laps from the end with a 2nd and a 3rd in the bad, why risk a massive crash? Honestly that would be insane of them to allow that to happen. Secondly Mark didn’t actually listen to the message. In fact, he ignored it and had there been just one more lap I have no doubt he would have taken Seb. And undoubtedly gotten into a whole lot of trouble in the process.
I’m not a fan of team orders – I cringed when Massa was told to move aside for Alonso to go past last year, but the fact is team orders happens. It just so happened that this particular team order was broadcast to everyone listening (I wonder why?). All the teams in one way or another implement team orders. Most of the teams have a system in place that say the leading driver decides when to pit first, which is surely team orders of some sort, but no one complains about that. Any fans who don’t like it, should just move to another sport. The FIA legalised team orders and what Red Bull did today wasn’t wrong, it was entirely their prerogative. I don’t necessarily blame them, Sebastian is currently leading the Championship and Red Bull are leading the Constructor’s and with only two laps to go, to let them race would have been a mistake, especially if they had crashed. I understand why Webber is furious, but he said after the race that this wasn’t the first time team orders had been used in Red Bull so he knows the score. It’ll be up to him whether he carries on this way and goes into 2012 being a #2 or whether he decides to leave.
All in all, I liked today’s race. Even more so since Ferrari looked blindingly quick. I sincerely hope they can keep it up in Germany in two weeks time. I think Vettel is doing a brilliant job so far during this Championship – in 9 races he’s finished first or second – but it would be nice if Fernando could catch him up, if Ferrari can keep the momentum. Silverstone is where it all went onto its head last year and Fernando came so so close to winning it, so this could be the start of something special. I hope so, anyway.