David Croft, Sky Sports F1 Commentator, guest writes for Silverstone, giving his views on the season so far
It’s Monday morning here in Montreal - time to pack up and head home, reflecting on what was another brilliant Canadian Grand Prix, and musing over the ramifications of 70 thrilling laps of racing.
Highlight of the season? I’d say so, and one that certainly whets the appetite for the British Grand Prix in a few weeks’ time.
In the immediate aftermath I answered a tweet that had been sent into #AskCrofty wondering if this was the defining moment of the season? Where the title swung Nico Rosberg’s way following the second DNF in seven races for Lewis?
I said no, but only because there is a long way to go and, of course, the prospect of double points in Abu Dhabi. That universally-hated idea which may well yet help Lewis recover from two blank results - neither of which have been his own fault.
My thoughts coming to Canada were that it was an important weekend for Lewis, on two fronts.
Firstly, that he had to show a little restraint in the rivalry stakes. Not for the media or the fans’ sake though, as far as I’m concerned it’s a brilliant story that has many chapters to play out yet. But because in a team sport, the last impression you want to give is that you’re a moaner, a complainer, that it’s all so unfair. What happened in Monaco may well have been pre-meditated, but it also may have been totally coincidental. Personally I don’t care, nor do I ever want to know the real truth. It happened, time to move on and deal with the present; the past is done and dusted.
And you don’t want to give your team-mate even the slightest hint that you’re a bit rattled, which Lewis did in Monaco. But he was brilliantly reserved I thought in Montreal. The interview we played out on Sky Sports F1 before the race, when Lewis rested his elbow on Nico’s shoulders only for Nico to pull away accompanied by a hard stare of disdain, was classic. A good bit of harmless needle.
Secondly, it was important for Lewis to have a good weekend on the track and at a circuit he loves, to show his best. Which he did, right up to the final part of qualifying where sadly he made a couple of errors and lost pole by seven one hundredths of a second, or five or so metres. He then lost a place at the start, (he got that back of course), but running behind his team-mate meant he suffered more from overheating brakes when the MGU-K unit failed, and as a result had to retire from the race.
Nico meanwhile nearly hit the wall, cut the final chicane and stayed in the lead when Lewis was challenging a few laps later (something which could easily have earned him a penalty). Then not only did he manage to nurse his car home when he suffered the exact same problem as Lewis, but into second place as well.
Luck and it has to be said, excellent driving, in the closing stages, was on Nico’s side. The sort of luck that can make the difference in such a close championship fight. So in that respect, maybe this weekend was the defining moment, but only for this moment.
Maybe at Silverstone a little bit of the best of British luck will give Lewis the extra helping hand he needs, and will be his defining moment. In my experience, British drivers thrive on the support of the home crowd and I’m expecting Lewis to do just that on July 6th.
If you haven’t got your tickets yet head to www.silverstone.co.uk, there’s a few left, and with McLaren starting to show a little more form (how good was it to see Jenson snatch a couple of places right at the end in Montreal to take fourth); Jolyon Palmer leading the GP2 Championship; and Alex Lynn at the top of the GP3 table after the first weekend, there’s the potential for more patriotism than Last Night Of The Proms!
It all starts on Thursday night. Sky Sports F1 will be broadcasting a live F1 Show with Natalie Pinkham and myself, and there’s the Kaiser Chiefs in concert too. Plus, Vintage Dress Friday, and some brilliant celebrations throughout the weekend for the 50th Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Can I also add that it was so good to bump into Felipe Massa last night? Not literally, he was still a bit sore after his high-speed crash with Sergio Perez, but in the street as he headed to dinner. Grateful, and not for the first time in his career, of the high standards of safety in Formula 1®. Commentating on Formula 1® is a brilliant job, but when you witness high-speed crashes such as this, you’re always hugely relieved to see drivers suffer no injuries - it’s always an anxious few moments following the impact.
Lovely too to see that Sergio Perez is also OK, but clearly the Mexican is far from happy with the blame apportioned to him for the crash and the five-place grid penalty he picked up for the next race. Personally, I saw it as a racing incident, as I’m sure, reading his comments, did Sergio. Shame then, that he wasn’t able to present his side or the story to the Stewards himself. Surely they could have waited until he'd finished with the doctors?
And somewhere in this city Daniel Ricciardo is more than likely nursing a very sore head today. At least I hope he is because your first Grand Prix win is something that demands a massive party. This time last year, we headed off to Download festival, enjoying a day off and listening to our favourite bands. They rocked, but yesterday’s race? Well, that rocked on a whole new level.comments powered by Disqus