Spares Box Presents: The Weekend Motorsport Wrap Up – David Reynolds saves his career, the whole of McLaren probably question theirs.
After the weekend’s action, the question on the lips of most motorsport fans has to be: just how bad can things get for McLaren? Following a 25-place grid penalty, they filled out the back row of Sunday’s Austrian GP, and it looked as if they’d be fighting a race of their own. Neither driver even made it past the 10th lap.
Fernando Alonso, running Honda’s new power unit which was hoped would provide some of the power required to get McLaren competitive again, collided with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on the second turn, essentially riding on the nose of the car until both cars came to a halt, well and truly scrapped. Jenson Button, running McLaren’s truly woeful original engine, was forced out with mechanical issues after just a few laps.
Alonso’s crash mounts incredible pressure on McLaren, as not only is this his fourth DNF in a row (his worst season since he drove for Minardi in 2001), but it also left the team without any significant data that they could have possibly gathered on the new power unit. You have to wonder just where things go from here for the Woking team.
Further up the front of the grid, Nico Rosberg gained a one-up on his Mercedes team-mate, powering past Lewis Hamilton at the first turn on his way to a dominant victory. Hamilton, who never came much closer than two seconds behind Rosberg, effectively had his race ended anyway by a five-second penalty from crossing the pit line. Williams’ Felipe Massa, who fought off a late charge from Sebastian Vettel after the German suffered through a botched pit stop, deservedly took the last podium place.
Down Under, the V8 Supercars descended on Hidden Valley for the Skycity Triple Crown, and emerged with an unlikely victor in the form of David Reynolds. Lacking a win since 2013, the career of Reynolds has previously come into question, but yesterday’s victory prompted calls from the Bottle-O racing team boss that he was the man to take his team into the future. Overcoming massive odds, Reynolds not only countered an off-track excursion and stomach problems, he was also forced to complete 59 laps on soft tyres.
The tyre problems that affected Reynolds also saw the retirements of Holden’s Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, who both face fights to stay in the Championship picture after this weekend. Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard came home second and third respectively, while Championship leader Mark Winterbottom extended his place at the top of the overall standings with a respectable fifth place.
Of course, this weekend’s crash of the week has to go to Kimi Raikkonen, who lost the rear end of his Ferrari on the second turn of Sunday’s Austrian GP, nearly finding himself decapitated by the McLaren of Fernando Alonso in the process.