It was, incredibly, the first time in Formula 1 history that two Ferraris had retired from a Grand Prix on the first lap. That’s quite some stat to take in and, to be honest, almost as eyebrow raising as the reason behind their retirement!
There has been plenty of comment as I’m sure you’d expect. Lots of finger pointing including, of course, that tweet from the official Ferrari account even before the race had finished. The tweet was taken down shortly after the chequered flag, which was probably a sensible idea given that the Stewards decided that none of the three drivers involved were ‘wholly or predominantly to blame.’ Which means they saw it as a racing incident and on the face of it that was probably the right decision. After all, the biggest punishment for both team and Championship challenger alike, was the fact that as a result of the collisions, they left Singapore with 0 points to show for their efforts.
Don’t forget that this was a race Ferrari had expected to do well in. To hit back at Mercedes straight away, after the hiding that was dished out to them in their own back yard a fortnight ago. And after taking pole position, four corners and a few hundred metres into the race, both cars were out and Vettel’s aspirations of a 5th world title were in danger of being washed away in a Singapore downpour.
So, apologies for the delay in this week’s blog but I’ve travelled on to Bali and the stunning Karma Kandara, for a few days of much needed rest and relaxation. I make no apologies for the holiday pics, the sight of monkeys running around outside my room first thing this morning brought a smile to my face and I wanted to share the view with you all. It’s not bad is it?
The delay though has given me a bit of time to have a think about what happened in Singapore and a chance to watch the start again. More on that in a minute. Lots of fans have tweeted and asked what I thought of it all? So here goes.
I’m still not quite sure what the hell Seb was doing veering over to the left as much as he did? Risking getting involved in an incident that could seriously affect his race. Lewis Hamilton speculated that Verstappen could have been in Seb’s blind spot, which is possible, certainly. But with conditions as they were, a little bit of caution might have the better way forward and for Seb he had more to lose than gain by moving so aggressively across the front of the Red Bull.
Sadly for Seb, Kimi got a brilliant start and, as he moved across Max to the right, the contact happened and the two cars collided, sending Kimi into Sebastian and eventually into Max again, with Fernando Alonso also taking a hit. It made me think that the incident was rather akin to Fernando’s career over the past two and a half seasons, right place, wrong time, right?!
Whose fault was it? More Seb’s than Max’s, Kimi wasn’t entirely blameless. Personally it looked like both Ferraris were trying to squeeze the Red Bull and flex their muscles in the way that Max said he might have to, when he spoke at the Sky Pad the night before. That’s his 7th DNF of the season now, three of which have been as a result of being caught in first corner incidents. He wasn’t to blame for the first two, I don’t really think he was to blame for this one either, although I’m sure there are plenty of Ferrari fans who think otherwise.
For the spectacle and from the neutrals’ perspective, it was a massive shame that all four drivers were out of the race. From the point of view of the Championship battle, it was even worse. Hamilton now has a 28 point lead, which I don’t see being overhauled. Looking at the races to come, Mercedes should be strong in enough of them to protect that lead and the 1-2 for a 4th successive year for the Brackley outfit could be on the cards too.
I asked James Allison on Sunday evening how many of the remaining six races he expected to suit Mercedes better than Ferrari. “Five of them” was the honest reply. As F1 fans, we know that you can always expect the odd twist and turn to jump up and surprise us, just when we’re expecting it the least, but what happened at the start in Singapore did rather have the feel of THE Championship defining moment this season.
Never, ever, give up, says the picture on the wall of my bedroom this week. Maybe I should stick it in my suitcase and hang it in the Ferrari garage in Sepang, It’s been a deflating last couple of races for the Scuderia, it really has.
One little footnote to the blog this week. On the way to Karma Kandara, I stopped off at the Bali Life Foundation to spend a few hours with the staff and children there.
There are over 4 million abandoned children living in Indonesia and this ‘small charity with a big heart’, as they describe themselves, works with just a tiny fraction. But gives hope, dignity and purpose in huge amounts and from what I saw yesterday, bundles of love and care as well.
It was a delight to spend some time there and I hope to come back very soon to spend more time in their company. We chatted about lots of things and I told the children what I did for a living before showing them some of the action from the race the day before. I don’t know how many times we watched it, but the kids couldn’t get enough of the action and, yes, they loved the crashes at the start! I’ve always felt that sport has a way of bringing people together and creating moments of joy and of course agony too. It’s drama, entertainment, escapism sometimes. In the context of our day to day lives it makes such a huge difference to our emotions and state of mind and for a few brief moments with some of the most delightful children I’ve ever had the pleasure to get to meet, F1 was the centre of our conversation and enjoyment.
No politics, no talk of engines being too quiet or the racing not being what it was 20 years ago. Just a total fascination for a sport that I love and was delighted to share with some new friends. Thank you to them all for their warmth and hospitality and to Formula 1, for helping make a connection.