Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Rain Man Reigns Supreme

For most drivers, it is their kryptonite; it depletes their super-human abilities with exciting truculence. As the Formula 1 paddock returned from its mid-term haitus with a smorgasbord of bangs and pirouettes, only one man could make his machine dance in the rain at Spa-Francorchamps, and he now leads the World Championship.

The series of showers that engulfed the Ardennes region gave way to safety cars, delectable drama, and title contenders dropping like flies. Fernando Alonso’s retirement means both Scuderia drivers are out of the championship, in spite of the “Ferrari-gate” debacle that plagued the German grand prix. Mark Webber and Robert Kubica stayed on Lewis Hamilton’s tail commendably throughout Sunday’s enthralling race, ensuring a close finish between the first three drivers.

But once again, Sebastian Vettel’s youthful exuberance has irrevocably damaged his title chances, while simultaneously erasing the chances of Jensen Button. The Brit was comfortably nurturing his damaged McLaren around Spa in second place, before Vettel lost control speared Button’s flank. Careless accidents, despite their spectacular nature, are becoming something of a trademark manoeuvre for the young German. Vettel’s collisions in Spa and Turkey, along with the drive-through penalty in Hungary are proof of the chronic inexperience that blemishes his enormous potential.
Mark Webber, his Red Bull team-mate, epitomises the perfect balance of experience and ability, a blend that makes him joint favourite to take the championship title, which one hopes will be contested until the last lap of the final race. However, in head-to-head duels, Hamilton’s sheer pace and fearlessness render him the victor, as Kimi Raikonnen, Alonso, and Massa have found to their disdain over the years.

It is pleasing to see the emergence of two more German talents – Nick Heidfeld and Adrian Sutil – both of whom overtook Michael Schumacher with disturbing ease, as the Regenmeister’s appears increasingly pedantic as the season progresses.

Germany may soon be able to boast a number of championship contenders. I just hope it rains in Monza next Sunday.