Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Is it safe to come out yet? // A quick review of the McLaren Hungarian qualifying fallout

Published by Mr. C

Alonso and Hamilton following Hungary qualifying

It took exactly 0.3 seconds for the Internet to explode in a mass of anti-Alonso vitriol following todays qualifying in Budapest. And in some ways that's to be expected, because although it is said 'that a picture paints a thousand words', F1 fans are not seeing the full vista when it come to Formula 1 broadcasting. It was Ross Brawn who rightly pointed out earlier in the year that:

It's very frustrating to watch a race and not have that information which is available to everyone at the track.

- Ross Brawn

He's not wrong there and I'd suggest McLaren are their own worst enemies when it comes to restricting information. If the team were open with their radio traffic, it's almost certain that a good majority of todays bad publicity could have been avoided.

As it was, almost everybody called it as they saw it, and what they saw painted Alonso in a pretty bad light. Later in the day, McLaren's Ron Dennis contradicted assumptions that Alonso was at fault and instead laid the blame squarely at Hamilton's door. Claiming Lewis had in fact deliberately ignored team orders allowing Fernando to pass. The final twist in the tail came from the race stewards late this evening, when they announced that Alonso would get a 5 place grid drop and McLaren would be denied the possibility of constructors points.

Phew. F1 really didn't need this right now, did it?

Lewis Hamilton has fallen considerably lower in my opinion today, but not for ignoring team orders, instead for his post qually comments when he said:

I'm not angry. I'm curious as to what's gone on and I find it quite interesting and amusing.

- Lewis Hamilton

Amusing eh? Screwing your team and your team mate in one fell swoop? Good one. Fernando fares no better in all of this though, he absolutely should have let the team deal with Hamilton in the post-qually debrief, taking matters into his own hands was unnecessary and unsporting.

Tomorrows race is going to be fun, the gloves have come off and Alonso has got a battle on his hands. While Macca are appealing the decision to freeze their constructors points - which after reading the stewards reasoning for the penalty, I'd have to agree seems a little unfair. Here's the quote:

The actions of the team in the final minutes of Qualifying are considered prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally.

- FIA stewards

This refers to the initial 20 seconds that Fernando was held behind the lollipop. I fail to see why this would be an issue, they clearly wanted him out as close to the end of session as possible, but it hardly against the spirit of competition is it?

And can anyone please tell me why it took until almost 11pm for the stewards to reach this decision? What's that, nine hours to watch a video and talk to four people?

Finally, you do have to ask what big Ron has to do to catch a break these days? The poor man lurches from crisis to crisis, firefighting at each turn, yet none of it is a result of any wrongdoing by the man himself.

Bootnote: The 'muppets of the day award' still has to go to the Ferrari mechanics though. They managed to send Massa off down the pit lane, sans-fuel. Well done children, gold stars all round!