Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lack of Quality

It was a case of ‘Bravo Bravo Fantastico’ for the second race running as Fernando Alonso stormed to his twenty first formula one victory at the Fuji Speedway earlier today. Alonso’s victory at the Japanese Grand Prix was as close to a perfect race as one can expect from a driver in a season which has thus far been characterized by the ineptness of the title challengers in sealing the driver’s championship. In spite of the fact that the title is far from decided going into the final two races of the season, this season in my opinion ranks as one of the worst ever of the recent past. Yes, we have had the spectacle of the night grand prix at Singapore and some swashbuckling action on the track, but the fact that neither Felipe Massa nor Lewis Hamilton has been able to close out the championship by taking advantage of the other’s mistakes has for me taken much of the glow out of this season. At times it has seemed like neither of them really wants to win the driver’s title with both electing to make ruinous decisions on the track as was evidenced with Hamilton’s move in the opening lap and Massa’s idiocy on the next at the Japanese Grand Prix today.

In my belief, if it had been either Schumacher or Alonso in Hamilton’s place, the title race would have been done and dusted by now. Would Schumacher have tried a daring move on a driver who was not competing with him for the title on the opening lap of the race? I think not. Sir Jackie Stewart once said that a driver cannot afford to make more than one blunder in a season if he harbours hopes of winning the championship. Hamilton and Massa though in spite of their numerous slip-ups this season are the main title challengers with two races to go and this is down to the simple fact that neither of them possesses the capabilities to close a championship out in the manner in which a true great can.

Hamilton for all his racing abilities rarely comes close to flawlessness on the track over the course of an entire race and often seems to crumble under pressure as he did today. He must be warned that he runs the risk of turning into a Jacques Villeneuve unless he can learn to make the right choices under pressure and curb his instinct to race when not necessary. Massa has never ever been considered at par with the likes of Raikkonen and Alonso and his performance at Japan clearly showed why. The manner of the performances from Hamilton and Massa over the last couple of races suggests to me that Robert Kubica who is only twelve points behind Hamilton may well be in with a chance going into the final two races of the season. At least Kubica has displayed the ability to perform under pressure and even if he fails to pull of an unlikely driver’s title, it would only be fair to describe him as the best driver of what has been an appalling season of formula one racing. 


Sroyon said...

I don't follow F1 all that much, so I thought you'd be a good person to ask. Why do you think Massa is ahead of his teammate despite the fact that Raikonnen is considered a better driver?

A Couch-side View said...

Raikkonen has had a terrible season and the fact that Massa is above him is down simply to the fact that Kimi has been woeful. Raikkonen is the best out and out driver in formula one and on his day, nobody can come close to him. But he is the sort of guy, who hates all the publicity that comes with being a superstar and at times this season, he has seemed highly uninterested in the sport.

I think he should be back to his best once again next season and if Renualt can continue to improve their car, we could well have a four way battle for the title next season.

Massa has always been very quick, but at times he has been equally rash. He has never really answered his critics and somehow seems to lack the big race temperament. He makes far too many mistakes in a single season and even if he does manage to win the title this season, i would still imagine that Raikkonen would continue to be the number one at ferrari.

Sroyon said...

Much obliged :)