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Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Pastor Maldonado back to his best // The Williams driver reminds us why we were so impressed with him early in the season

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What on earth happened in the Middle East over the weekend? Just when everyone was sure we could crack predicting the 2012 season, we are dealt a hammer blow by one of the best races of the year. Obviously at the start of the season everyone was sure that the two best races of the year would be in Valencia and Abu Dhabi, but no one could have seen a race like that coming? It was complete chalk and cheese to India the week before. Seven retirees, five from accidents and 14 drivers were involved in contact that majorly affected their race - I’ve not seen stats like that for a long time.

Aggressive Maldonado puts in top drawer performance

I know that he won’t get all the credits, especially with a title race on but the Venezuelan put in a special drive and, in my view, his best of the season. As we have seen in the past few races, the field is spreading out, so I think that fifth place was the maximum that Pastor Maldonado could have achieved.

The thing that impressed me most about Maldonado’s drive was his aggressiveness. When he was trying to recover from all those incidents, he lost a lot of his pace and was far too cautious in wheel to wheel combat. But on Sunday, he hustled, put the car on the second row of the grid and drove his own race from there. Despite holding faster cars behind him, particularly with his KERS working intermittently, he was not a mobile chicane, and defended aggressively but fairly.

Maldonado to the max
Maldonado to the maxCredit: Charles Coates/LAT

The flashpoint in Maldonado’s race was his collision with Mark Webber. And, if I’m honest, he had every right to take that corner, rather than yield. Although he was the one to tip Webber into a spin, I think it was more down to Webber turning into the corner too early, rather than Maldonado not giving up on a position when he really should.

Other than that, he chose his battles well, conceding when he needed too, such as when Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso came barrelling past him. My only criticism of Maldonado is his start. Had he maintained his position ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and been second into turn one, it would have been interesting to see where he ended up. Although, with the pace Kimi had in the race, I have a feeling it wouldn’t have mattered.

Räikkönen... at last!

I had given up on Lotus winning a race this year but I was proven wrong as Kimi finally got his mojo back and produced a scintillating drive to take to the top step of the podium for the first time since the 2009 Belgian GP (I was there, I’m glad to say). The Flying Finn was in dominant mood from the moment Lewis Hamilton’s engine software went bang. He really did never look back, even when his team were instructing him to do so.

Lewis Hamilton should get lessons from Kimi in entertaining radio communication

Sunday was almost like a ‘best of’ of Kimi. There was his prodigious speed on show, of course, as he held off all challengers, bar Lewis Hamilton. But we also saw the side of Kimi that we all love. I think that Lewis Hamilton should get lessons from Kimi in entertaining radio communication because his messages on Sunday were sheer brilliance as he became more and more frustrated with the team trying to coach him to the victory. And that was just the broadcastable stuff!

All jokes aside, it was great to see Kimi back to his best and I hope that this gives the team, as well as Kimi, the boost they need to mount a fully fledged title challenge in 2013. I think we have all missed him fighting right at the sharp end.

Red mist aids Red Bull recovery

Vettel has his fair share of luck in Abu Dhabi
Credit: Vladimir Rys/Getty

After taking the big Saturday penalty in his stride on Saturday, Sebastian Vettel let his anger do the talking in the race. I couldn’t believe how badly Vettel was letting his frustration affect him in the opening 15 laps.

Despite fighting his way up to twelfth, he had damaged his front wing just by carelessly leaving his it where it didn’t belong in a battle with Bruno Senna, and then destroyed it when trying to avoid ‘teammate’ Daniel Ricciardo and hitting the DRS board instead. I never expected to see him so riled up after the incident, it reminded me of after his crash with Mark Webber in the 2010 Turkish GP where he just lost it.

But somehow, though a cocktail of anger, determination and a large spoonful of luck, he fought up into a respectable position. Then came the intrigue. Would he stop again or would he gamble on keeping his tyres and try to hold second place? It was an interesting debate and both sides had merit. Only Red Bull knew what they were to do. In the end, they went the safe route and timed the pit stop to perfection as Sebastian was able to pit and come out ahead of the Grosjean, Di Resta, Pérez, Webber scrap - something that he will be hugely thankful for now having seen how that ended up.

Yes he may have got lucky as many competitors were held up or eliminated before Vettel had to deal with them, but it was a champion’s drive and if he wins the title by 15 points or less, he will have truly earned his third title in a row.

Recovery drives earn respect

The final award goes to two men who wanted the same piece of tarmac going into the first corner. There was only one way it was going to end up and sure enough, both men’s races were compromised. As Paul di Resta fought with teammate Nico Hülkenberg, he helped cause a four car melee, puncturing his front right tyre and spinning Bruno Senna. Both men were at the back of the pack but fought their way up the grid, aided by a safety car.

It was another case of what might have been for Force India

Di Resta was running fifth until a great four corner battle with Grosjean and Pérez wiped out the Frenchman and Mark Webber, and forced him to pit for a third time. He recovered to tenth but it was another case of what might have been for Force India.

Bruno was slightly luckier. Having fought his way back up after his spin, he made his alternate strategy work and was a prime benefactor of the Di Resta/Pérez/Grosjean/Webber battle going sour. In the end he worked his way up to eighth, showing the Williams has found some of its genuine pace back, but it was one of a number of great drives ruined by careless driving throughout the race.

Podium becomes the naughty corner

I’m not a big fan of the new podium procedures but I think that after yesterday, I’ll be watching it a lot more often. It was pure comic genius. First was Kimi’s reluctance to spray the precious rose water (which ironically enough, doesn’t contain alcohol) as he took three huge gulps, something I bet would happen from the moment he won the race. The would-be alcohol in his system may have triggered what happened next as he swore to a huge live audience in a heavily religious country.

I’m certain that once Sebastian Vettel was determined to go one better. And he did! Twice! It was great to watch and I can’t imagine what was going through David Coulthard’s mind as he saw his protégé swear for a second time on the podium. But the unruly children had one more trick for the substitute teacher, as Vettel drenched him in the rose water. I can’t imagine DC up there again anytime soon but all I can say is after a race and post race-like that is, can we have some more please?




  • The thing about this race is the sheer plethora of great drives.

    Bruno Senna went from dead last at turn one to 8th in a midfield car, and even managed to mug Vettel at one point using a HRT for a slipstream.

    Kobayashi lost Kers and couldn't downshift properly but dragged himself to 6th

    Grosjean went from about 20th to 5th before 'the incident'

    Hamilton was demolishing the field on his cruising pace prior to the fuel pump failure

    Alonso dragged his car up to second where it ought never to have been... again

    And the Vettel run from last to 11th to last to third.

    Maldonado holding 3rd (de facto second) before a kers failure

    Everything waqs very 1980's

    McLaren-Lotus-Williams 1-2-3 for half the race, A huge lead followed by mechanical failure, dodgy overtaking in the midfield, a disqualification in qualifying, A great driver in a terrible Ferrari and a stalled car on the grid.

  • It was a crazy mixed up race. I am not sure the racing was as good as many people have suggested but there was a lot of incidents and distractions to save us getting bored.

    I felt sorry for Lewis Hamilton because he was totally dominant and deserved to win that race. Jenson never looked like matching his pace.

    Vettel as Lewis said must be the luckiest F1 driver ever. He drove well but the cards kept falling for him. Considering how easy his career has been to this point it was amazing how would up he got following the safety car. I can't imagine how he would have coped with Lewis's first two seasons.

    Great to see Kimi winning again and doing it as ony he can. I still regret that he didn't choose to go back to McLaren. Kimi and Lewis wheel to wheel in indetical machinery would be an incredible site.

  • The thing about this race is the sheer plethora of great drives.

    It's fair to say there was a plethora of brain dead driving examples too.

    Force India boys falling over each other

    Grosjean and Rosberg trying to up Grosjean's first lap list

    Webber trying to overtake

    Webber trying to overtake again

    Massa getting in a spin about it all

    Grosjean putting Perez wide

    Perez not looking before coming back

    And lets not forget Vettel taking out an innocent DRS board after already unnecessarily damaging his front wing.

  • Kobayashi lost Kers and couldn't downshift properly but dragged himself to 6th

    didn't realise that. even more impressive.

  • I’m not a big fan of the new podium procedures but I think that after yesterday, I’ll be watching it a lot more often.

    it all depends on the presenter and the questions. it would be heaps better if there was a regular person doing it who knew how to handle the situation. eventually the sport is going to run out of people though and we'll get into a cycle of "must watch", "must avoid".

    kinda like the stewards, only more public.

  • it all depends on the presenter and the questions. it would be heaps better if there was a regular person doing it who knew how to handle the situation. eventually the sport is going to run out of people though and we'll get into a cycle of "must watch", "must avoid".

    How long until the podium question asker is a title sponsor representative?

  • How long until the podium question asker is a title sponsor representative?

    oh lordy!

  • kinda like the stewards, only more public.

    Using the stewards for the podium may be quite amusing

  • Am I the only person who thought the race was merely all right?

    Beyond the top 4 and Hamilton, I'm pretty sure I watched one of the most amateurish races since Nurburgring '99.

    My word, even some of the poorer GP2 drivers show more class than much of the nonsense on display on Sunday. That was Formula 1's afternoon at clown college.

  • Am I the only person who thought the race was merely all right?

    just you and steven apparently. the thing with this race was we were expecting the worst. two awful races preceded it and it's abu dhabi, which is was always boring.

    reckon it was my favourite event of the year, but i'm here for the entertainment, not purist racing.

    how people have rated it so far: sidepodcast.com/p…rate-the-race.php

  • I can't say I remember a lot about Maldonado's race, apart from disappearing backwards after the start and Mark Webber crossing his bows (I agree that was Mark's fault). But that's probably a good thing, rather than crashing out he got a good points finish.

    Everything waqs very 1980's

    McLaren-Lotus-Williams 1-2-3 for half the race, A huge lead followed by mechanical failure, dodgy overtaking in the midfield, a disqualification in qualifying, A great driver in a terrible Ferrari and a stalled car on the grid.

    Exactly my thought. A great weekend robbed by mechanical failure giving the win to another great drive from someone in an underdog car, the back half of the field falling over themselves when they should know better (now that's the F1 I grew up with!), great point on Ferrari too.

    Kobayashi lost Kers and couldn't downshift properly but dragged himself to 6th

    More 80s-style stuff. :)

    The other thing is, the DRS was perfect. It was a driver aid and not either an automatic overtake or a complete irrelevance. It allowed cars to get side by side but the driver still had to work to finish the job through the chicane and the next straight and the sequence after. For me it was a rare case of it working flawlessly.

    I’m not a big fan of the new podium procedures but I think that after yesterday, I’ll be watching it a lot more often.

    I've liked them ever since they put people with proper broadcast experience on them. Coulthard was reasonable but spent too long with Vettel. Brundle did it perfectly. People how are famous in their own right for racing, but who have now spent a while asking the questions too. Nice balance.

  • reckon it was my favourite event of the year, but i'm here for the entertainment, not purist racing.

    I liked this race because it had both. Purist racing up front, entertainment in the pack.

  • I've liked them ever since they put people with proper broadcast experience on them. Coulthard was reasonable but spent too long with Vettel. Brundle did it perfectly. People how are famous in their own right for racing, but who have now spent a while asking the questions too. Nice balance.

    the only catch is there are about 6 people who fit into that category. dc/ej/brundle/davidson/herbert/hill

    i guess that's enough to keep it interesting. would be easier to just to pick one person though.

  • the only catch is there are about 6 people who fit into that category. dc/ej/brundle/davidson/herbert/hill

    You realise you've only named people from BBC / Sky, right?

    ;)

  • You realise you've only named people from BBC / Sky, right?

    Who else is there, realistically? Someone famous who can also ask questions. Alex Wurz?

    Jordan and Lauda weren't any good, and I doubt Hill would be either tbh.

    The only other way to do it is go back to the old way of having a commentator do it, only outside. I think Bob Constanduros should do it.

  • Who else is there, realistically? Someone famous who can also ask questions. Alex Wurz?

    Gerhard Berger although his language is probably worse than Kimi's.

    Prost

    Or get McNish to do it

  • Who else is there, realistically? Someone famous who can also ask questions. Alex Wurz?

    The show is broadcast right across the world, with hundreds upon hundreds of potential candidates, whether they be ex-racers, racers turned media, team bosses, etc...

  • You realise you've only named people from BBC / Sky, right?

    pat's criteria specified:

    - famous in their own right for racing

    - but who have now spent a while asking the questions too

    my own criteria added "must have a basic grasp of english" and the necessary "person actually needs to attend a grand prix". given those limitations, who did i miss?

    Jordan and Lauda weren't any good, and I doubt Hill would be either tbh.

    agreed.

  • Or get McNish to do it

    surely that's the biggest insult you can hand mcnish?

    legendary race driver, demon behind the wheel, the most dangerous man in endurance racing and now... the bloke who asks three inane questions after a grand prix.

  • The show is broadcast right across the world, with hundreds upon hundreds of potential candidates, whether they be ex-racers, racers turned media, team bosses, etc...

    excellent comment. do compile us a list then...

  • This is why I think Constanduros should do it. He already is trackside commentator for every race. He sometimes does the qualifying PC so he can ask questions. His colleagues who do the local language can translate for the crowd if he leaves gaps, something they've done all weekend anyway.

    (Interestingly Nick tweeted it wasn't relayed to the speakers in the main grandstand - oddly)

    We all now hear his voice because he does the champaaagggne and the podium introductions - why not just carry on?

    To be honest the questions aren't really relevant because the drivers are evasive, and the TV co's and writers interview them again afterwards anyway. What we need is someone who knows how to work TV. Notice DC looked straight down the camera lens instead of waving his arms around in bemusement.

  • i do love the image of alain prost, four time world champion, man who put ayrton senna in his place, almost 60 years of age and an OBE. hopping on plane, flying halfway across the world (most probably at his own expense), to stand atop a podium for five minutes of airtime.

    why in the world would he give a stuff?

    the pool of people eligible for the job is simply "persons who happen to be nearby at the time of asking, possibly with something to promote".

    i'm betting on kylie being up there next, and perhaps the black eyed peas.

  • Being Texas next they'll probably have Will Buxton, the audience knows who he is.

  • This is why I think Constanduros should do it. He already is trackside commentator for every race. He sometimes does the qualifying PC so he can ask questions. His colleagues who do the local language can translate for the crowd if he leaves gaps, something they've done all weekend anyway.

    can't argue against that logic. except if he was that good, wouldn't he have been doing all the press conference sessions forever. why bring in a buxton or crofty, if bob was there all along?

  • can't argue against that logic. except if he was that good, wouldn't he have been doing all the press conference sessions forever. why bring in a buxton or crofty, if bob was there all along?

    I've never understood it.

  • Being Texas next they'll probably have Will Buxton, the audience knows who he is.

    my cynical self says that sky will want one of their own up there, after the bbc got a look in last time. my money is on crofty or pinkham.

  • my cynical self says that sky will want one of their own up there, after the bbc got a look in last time. my money is on crofty or pinkham.

    FOM may have other considerations.

    Maybe Bob Varsha would've done it, had Speed not got the hump and stuck him back in a Charlotte studio.

  • FOM may have other considerations.

    true enough, but then nothing beats "hey, have our guy/girl for free".

  • i do love the image of alain prost, four time world champion, man who put ayrton senna in his place, almost 60 years of age and an OBE. hopping on plane, flying halfway across the world (most probably at his own expense), to stand atop a podium for five minutes of airtime.

    I only thought of him because he was at the last race.

    Being Texas next they'll probably have Will Buxton, the audience knows who he is.

    I can see them having Darrell Waltrip or some other NASCAR related person.

    FOM may have other considerations.

    They can't just have British people all the time. If they don't want to use an American in Austin for whatever reason they could use Jackie Stewart because he used to do a lot of American TV.

    legendary race driver, demon behind the wheel, the most dangerous man in endurance racing and now... the bloke who asks three inane questions after a grand prix.

    He is at a lot of the races and I assume that means he is looking at a media career when he stops racing. Obviously I would rather he was racing but sportscars do't have that many race weekends.

  • my cynical self says that sky will want one of their own up there, after the bbc got a look in last time. my money is on crofty or pinkham.

    No no no, I don't see how people rate Natalie Pinkham. She is absolutely awful at sports journalism. From what I've seen, she gets a free trip to experience the luxury life of F1. Her interviews are awful and she seems like she's just there to have fun. While Lee McKenzie and before that Louise Goodman actually cared about F1, Pinkham doesn't have a clue.

    Crofty would be ok, but depends if you want racing or journalism experience

  • No no no, I don't see how people rate Natalie Pinkham.

    not sure if they do, do they? her one redeeming feature is that she's not as hopeless as georgie.

    Crofty would be ok, but depends if you want racing or journalism experience

    ultimately i don't think anyone is right for the job, simply because it's such a terrible concept.

  • I only thought of him because he was at the last race.

    fair enough. he might pop up again, can't see him becoming a paddock regular though.

    They can't just have British people all the time.

    because?

    for years the press conference has been hosted by either crofty, allen, buxton or constanduros. the guy before them was british too, i think?

    not saying it has to be either, but history suggests that it is more likely to be.

  • I can see them having Darrell Waltrip or some other NASCAR related person.

    Not on the day of their championship finale.

    They can't just have British people all the time. If they don't want to use an American in Austin for whatever reason they could use Jackie Stewart because he used to do a lot of American TV.

    Jackie Stewart is a great call for the US race. I can see that being true.

  • I can see them having Darrell Waltrip or some other NASCAR related person.

    On the last day of the NASCAR championship? Not a chance.

  • for years the press conference has been hosted by either crofty, allen, buxton or constanduros. the guy before them was british too, i think?

    Crofty and Buxton were there mainly when Allen wasn't available though. JA has been and still is the main choice.

  • Not on the day of their championship finale.

    I didn't realise that. That is a horrific miscalculation by the FIA to compete against NASCAR. They should have held it this weekend as a 'warmup' to get the Americans into it

  • I didn't realise that. That is a horrific miscalculation by the FIA to compete against NASCAR. They should have held it this weekend as a 'warmup' to get the Americans into it

    This was no miscalculation.

  • I didn't realise that. That is a horrific miscalculation by the FIA to compete against NASCAR. They should have held it this weekend as a 'warmup' to get the Americans into it

    didn't realise that either. the races aren't on at the same time though are they, fans could watch one and switch to the other. f1 effectively becoming nascar's warm up race.

  • didn't realise that either. the races aren't on at the same time though are they, fans could watch one and switch to the other. f1 effectively becoming nascar's warm up race.

    I think they are on at the exact same time.

    F1 starts 1pm Central (2pm ET).

    NASCAR starts 2pm ET. but that might be pre-race show. And their races can go on for 3+ hours.

    I think most crossover fans will watch F1 then switch over later. Mind you, NASCAR 'just happened' to have a fight last night..

  • I think they are on at the exact same time.

    oh deary me.

  • f1 effectively becoming nascar's warm up race.

    Did you expect different?

    NASCAR starts 2pm ET. but that might be pre-race show. And their races can go on for 3+ hours.

    I think most crossover fans will watch F1 then switch over later. Mind you, NASCAR 'just happened' to have a fight last night..

    F1 will be done by the time NASCAR pre-race finishes. I don't foresee any switchover, because main eyes either side of NASCAR will be on football.

    F1 will not even be on Speedcentre, effectively signalling media suffocation.

  • I think they are on at the exact same time.

    That is beyond moronic. It is a hard enough sell to get an audience for F1 in America without doing something as stupid as this.

  • Did you expect different?

    nope. i think that's a good thing.

  • The timing is bad but you could have avoided the whole thing by putting it on a different weekend. However, think it might be Bernie's negotiating more than anything. And they'll never beat football, so they'd either have to put up with that or have a spring/summer race which is less likely to attract attention without a clear title fight on.

  • And they'll never beat football, so they'd either have to put up with that or have a spring/summer race which is less likely to attract attention without a clear title fight on.

    too hot in austin for a summer race though (that was the original plan).

  • too hot in austin for a summer race though (that was the original plan).

    IndyCar, Texas, mid-June......

  • IndyCar, Texas, mid-June......

    doesn't matter. organisers of the gp said it needed to be moved from june due to temperature issues and it was. you can't even cynically argue that it was only done because the place wouldn't be ready as the 2013 event is scheduled for the same date.

    plus a back-to-back with brazil works well logistically, so if you moved one, you'd likely have to move both.

  • plus a back-to-back with brazil works well logistically, so if you moved one, you'd likely have to move both.

    I don't get this argument. Austin and Sao Paulo are well over 8,000 kms apart, in two continents on opposite ends of the globe - that's a logistical nightmare if ever there was one.

  • I don't get this argument. Austin and Sao Paulo are well over 8,000 kms apart, in two continents on opposite ends of the globe - that's a logistical nightmare if ever there was one.

    Thankfully, the F1 fleet of DHL planes on their way to Brazil in November, stop over at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) for a layover. It's no coincidence that COTA picked a parcel of land so close to the airport here in Austin, whereby having the F1 fleet fly through Austin would be cost effective and efficient.

    www.theaustingran…g/ut#.UKWPPaU-nNo

  • Thankfully, the F1 fleet of DHL planes on their way to Brazil in November, stop over at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) for a layover. It's no coincidence that COTA picked a parcel of land so close to the airport here in Austin, whereby having the F1 fleet fly through Austin would be cost effective and efficient.

    I stand corrected.

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