Mark Webber scored his sixth win in Hungary. In the previous twenty-four years of Grands Prix in Hungary, only eight times has the winner gone on to win the title. It was Vettel’s fifteenth podium (I noticed he has scored more points this season, 151, than in all his previous seasons, 125). It was Red Bull’s 100th race having gained 12 wins, 16 poles, and 31 podiums.
It was good to see a driver win with a contrasting strategy, although only courtesy of Vettel’s penalty. Had Mark pitted with everyone else, then it might have been the usual dull race the circuit provides, exasperated by not even the variation of drivers taking their first stops a bit earlier or later. Had there not been a safety-car period, would it have occurred to the team to try leaving Mark out when the rest of the field went through the pit-cycle? He was able to pull out enough time on Alonso from a small lead after the safety-car went in, yet without a safety-car would have had a bigger head-start if Alonso and the rest pitted about 15 to 18 laps into the race. Of course in such a scenario, if Webber had pitted a lap before Alonso into a gap in the field that gave him a clear track, that would have probably done the trick as the first onto new tyres is faster sooner, but if there is such a gap, it is always the car ahead that has that opportunity to pitstop into it that bit earlier.
Concerning Schumacher’s brutal move on Barrichello, the question that strikes me is if that did not deserve a ban, then what the hell would? Does he have to kill someone? Perhaps maiming someone will be enough. It will be interesting to see if the punishment in any way amends Schumacher’s behavoir to those trying to pass him. Bless Barrichello for not only not backing out, but once he had taken to the end of the pit-exit to squeeze by, viciously turned left to make Schumacher flinch out his way. Following the avalanche of international media condemnation, it has been reported that Schumacher apologised on his web-site, this only included on the German-language version. Borrowing Autosport‘s translation, “I wasn’t seeking to endanger him with my move. If he feels I was then I’m sorry, this wasn’t my intention.”, it hardly comes across as a fulsome, gracious apology. My translation is, “I am not at all sorry but I will give the most grudging conditional apology I can get away with because I have been advised I do not have a choice.” A sorry excuse for an apology.
Brawn’s attempt to defend the action of his driver was despicable. “It may have ended up in a dangerous way but that wasn’t the intent I am sure by Michael. Michael was defending his position, trying to encourage Rubens to go around the outside. I don’t think for a moment that he saw Rubens there and thought ‘I will squeeze him’.” I expect if Michael were to stab someone, Brawn would explain that Schumacher held the knife out to merely show it to the other man, and did not see how close he was standing, and then stabbed him again in demonstrating how it had been accidental the first time.
One of the rumours that surfaced in recent days is that Nick Heidfeld might join Kubica at Renault next season. I wrote about the Polish driver’s need to be his team’s clear number-one here. For the races they both drove for BMW Sauber, Robert scored 137 points and quick Nick 150. Kubica only won at Canada in 2008 after the team clearly had Heidfeld let him past for the lead to get the 1-2 as the Pole still had a pitstop to do. If they are re-paired, we will see the truculent Kubica soon return if he thinks the team are giving his team-mate too much attention. Knowing Heidfeld’s fortune, if he did sign with Renault, a few days later Schumacher would quit, and Mercedes would blitz the opposition next season.