Thursday, July 9, 2009

German GP Preview: Vettel’s date with destiny

Sebastian Vettel did something to Jenson Button which one driver has managed to do and that is not only beat him on a dry race but also dominate the race to an extend that Button for the first time failed to reach the podium. Brawn GP fans may blame that the track and the conditions for their cat but again during their dominating win, they had no such crib and hailed Button’s win to Schumacher’s 2004 title victory. Well for all you know Button can still in that fashion but then in a few days his will face his most serious contender as for Vettel apart from Monza this could be a crucial race for his future ambitions of taking over as the new Kaiser and become the new Red Baron and a win in the historic Nürburgring could also bring back the interest in the championship and not on things outside the track which this season has overshadowed F1.

Though this track should favour the Brawn GP and Jenson knows this track pretty well to once again win this season but his teammate should be inspired after his podium finish and very importantly ahead of Button in his home grand prix and so expect Barrichello to re-launch his quest for not only the title but also the man who would be the Cinderella Man for Brawn GP. Red Bull after a stunning 1-2 finish in Silverstone should be strong for this race and though they may be very slightly behind Brawn but then that can be overcome by sound strategy and an inspirational drive from their drivers can put the Bulls once again on the podium and can also close the gap in the Constructors Championship.

Toyota seem to look like one team which can close in on the top 2 and though they are registered as a Japanese team and Fuji is their track but then they are the only team in the grid to have a base in Germany and with a German Timo Glock piloting the car for them expect huge support for the team which should expect both its drivers on points while the other car with a Toyota engine Williams also have a young German talent who has beaten Hamilton in the junior formula levels and had he been in a Williams teams in the late 80’s or early 90’s would have been fighting for a championship or could have even won one. Williams does not want to become another Lotus and they showed improvement in the last race and though there is no denial about their pace in practice but when it comes to racing situation Williams does lag behind Brawn GP, Red Bull & Toyota while they have been impressively ahead of McLaren and Ferrari but it will be a very good performance for the team if they manage to finish ahead of these 2 teams along with Renault as these 4 used to be the big 4 of F1 and also on BMW who famously dumped Williams and took over Sauber to form their own team.

Ferrari though they managed to get both their drivers to score points are still some way off winning pace leave alone podium finishes but they are slowly improving and the team has well given up on the season but the interesting thing to look for will be the driver battle as Massa has been the better driver of the 2 since mid-way last season and with the rumours of Alonso switching to Ferrari next season, Kimi needs a performance like the 2007 season to maintain his seat. In Germany you can always see the Tifosi in full strength and well it could be the legacy of Schumacher but then the next Schumacher’s performance could also count a lot.

McLaren’s season has become from bad to worse and after the British GP, well they looked even worse than Force India a private team which has a tie-up with McLaren and is more or less like a customer to it is actually faster than the works team. Also Mercedes would also want its official team to do well after the embarrassing performance of its team this season. Another German team BMW is having its worst season ever and after an amazing 2008 they continue on their nightmare of a season with rumours of Heidfeld leaving is also very high. For the sake of drivers scoring points would be something that the team would want to but then they also need a lot of luck and maybe even rain to help them out.

Alonso is the only reason Renault has score points this season and the best driver on the planet is yet again stuck with a car which is not at all helping him and though he has not denied the rumours of his eminent move to Ferrari but the question is only when and even if the Spaniard does not move next season his teammate Piquet should be going into every race when the axe will be on him and with the likes of French prodigy Romain Grosjean and Senna waiting in the wings, Piquet needs to do something which he has never done in his entire career and which is step a few levels up and race like a champion.

Force India continue on their accent up and though they have not scored points they have been pretty impressive and off-late looked faster than Toro Rosso and at times quicker than even outfits like BMW, Renault and yes even McLaren. Though their best bet of scoring points may have gone off but then don’t be too shocked if either of Fisi or Sutil managed to score points by the end of the season while sister team Red Bull challenging Brawn for both the titles it is a bit sad to see Toro Rosso after a decent start now languishing at the bottom and the same team last season was ahead of Honda, Red Bull, Williams and Force India. Hope the team does turn things very soon and this could be the best season to challenge the likes of BMW and Renault.

Rain is predicted for the race and though the track is expected to favour Brawn but even in conditions where the track will be moist and with a cool breeze around, it will not be Brawn’s liking and they would suffer from tyre heating issues and well if it also rains, well Red Bull can thank their stars and could continue to eat away Brawn’ early season advantage and pull off an impossible comeback.

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