Spares Box Presents: The Weekend Motorsport Wrap Up – God Save the Queen/French/’Muricans
Ahh, to be in Britain
I’m not gonna lie, I had so many headlines and titles for this article rushing through my head in the opening stage of Sunday’s British GP. Felipe Massa was in the lead, making it the first time for what felt like the first time in an epoch that a Mercedes wasn’t charging to victory, and all of a sudden everything negative that had been said about F1 in the last week seemed like complete rubbish.
Of course, it didn’t last. Mercedes finished with another 1-2. Williams, in the process of destroying Valtteri Bottas’ chance at a victory as he bore down on his Brazilian teammate, wrote another chapter in their long anthology of “how not to do pit-strategy”. The short, and slightly anti-climactic stretch of rain led to home-grown Lewis Hamilton pulling off an almost freakishly well-timed pit stop, changing to intermediate tyres around 10 seconds before the downpour that no one was quite sure was even going to happen.
While everyone was left to skate around the track on slicks for an additional lap, Hamilton romped to a 10-second lead almost instantaneously, and that was that. In a collapse I can only compare to Japan’s women’s World Cup Final that’s happening as I write this, the Williams drivers found themselves fourth and fifth at the end of proceedings. As the rain came down, they fell susceptible to the wet-weather insatiability of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who took the final podium place behind the two Mercedes drivers.
The main point to take out of all of this, though, is that after watching this race, I went to bed with a glimmer of hope in my heart for the future of the sport. For the first time I can remember in at least a year, we enjoyed a genuine battle for places 1 to 4, just like in the good old days. Sure, it was ruined by team orders, but goodness me it was edge-of-your-seat stuff. Can the sport build off of this? Here’s hoping so.
A weekend of patriotism continues
Sebastian Ogier remains on course for another World Rally Championship, after taking out the weekend’s Rally of Poland. The weekend’s racing turned out to be a surprisingly close affair, with Ogier leading by as little as three seconds overall by the end of day 2. Of course, the sheer skill of Ogier prevailed, and once again he proved exactly why he was the natural successor to his countryman Sebastien Loeb as world champion.
French Rally dominance continued in Sweden, as the world Rallycross Championship saw an all-French manufacturer podium, while local sweetheart Peter Solberg maintained his record of qualifying for EVERY finals series in the history of the championship, eventually finishing third overall and extending his lead in the title standings.
On a slightly more patriotic front (if you can get more patriotic than a Brit winning at Silverstone in the rain. God save the Queen.), one of America’s sweethearts Dale Earnhardt Jr. sits on pole position for today’s NASCAR Daytona 400. We’ll be covering the outcome of that race, along with much more next week.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for
Yep! It’s crash-of-the-week time. This one goes to the WRC’s Thierry Neuville, who rolled his Hyundai, collected a fence and still managed to finish the stage (and a respectable sixth overall), in what is probably the most badass thing a Hyundai has ever done.