Rosberg Restores The Balance
Well, now that my rant is over, its time to congratulate Williams on a job thoroughly well done this weekend. After their front-row lockout yesterday, they achieved their first podium of 2014, with Valtteri Bottas finishing P3. With Felipe Massa following him home, Williams maximised their potential today as beating the Mercedes was a step too far. However, they will take great pleasure from the fact that they managed to keep the silver arrows honest at the front of the field. They even looked as though they could challenge for the win while Rosberg was held behind Sergio Perez, who started on the prime compound.
What Williams’ performance does show is that Mercedes are being reeled in by their rivals. The Red Bull Ring is not dissimilar in nature to circuits such as the Hungaroring or even Silverstone and therefore, their rivals pace is perhaps not the flash in the pan performance that it could be perceived to be. With Fernando Alonso challenging Massa towards the closing stages, even Ferrari seemed to be more competitive. Yes, the Mercedes struggled with brake temperatures, but the pace of their rivals is unquestionably food for thought.
Not Good To Be Home
After spending millions of euros to upgrade the A1 Ring, Mr.Mateschitz could be forgiven for feeling aggrieved tonight after his teams suffered an abysmal homecoming. Toro Rosso’s day was unquestionably one to forget, as they experienced their second double retirement of 2014. Daniil Kvyat was the first to fall, as his suspension failed heading into Turn Three, followed later by Jean Eric Vergne who suffered a rather dramatic brake failure after black dust had been billowing out of the left front wheel for several laps. Up until then, the weekend had looked reasonably promising, with Kvyat running solidly in the top ten and Vergne demonstrating decent pace.
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s weekend was far from enjoyable. Sebastian Vettel’s afternoon was eventful for all the wrong reasons, after ANOTHER electrical fault caused an unresponsive throttle pedal. Miraculously he regained power after falling a lap down, but eventually retired to save engine components after a collision with Esteban Gutierrez proved to be the straw that broke the camels back, (although to be fair, it was a rather hefty straw.) Daniel Ricciardo may have managed to salvage P8 after running almost the entire race without the use of his “overtake button” but this weekend has been almost a total write-off for all those sponsored by the famous drinks manufacturer. When your driving an RB10 and you are even struggling in the turns, you know you are in for a tough weekend. Silverstone should be much better, although it really has to be!
Driver of the Day
Ultimately, there were a number of worthy candidates. Lewis Hamilton’s climb from P9 to P2, or Valtteri Bottas’ first podium finish are both deserving of the Driver of the Day tag, but Sergio Perez stood out for me. Starting from P16, after serving a penalty that he felt was unjust, it would have been easy for Checo to cruise through the race and endure a quiet Sunday drive. However, his determination to earn points was evident. Once again, the Mexican demonstrated how tyre preservation should be done and by jumping Jenson Button at the start, he became the lead soft tyre runner. He kept Nico Rosberg at arms length for several laps to lead before his first stop and managed to utilise his super-soft tyres to great effect at the end of the race to pass Kevin Magnussen for P6. Oh, and he recorded the fastest lap as well. An impeccable drive and one which put Nico Hulkenberg very much in the shadow.