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GP Week : Issue 217
12 GPWEEK.com // 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: thE Art of prEdiction OPINION That’s the amazing thing about sport. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse ... they don’t. While the events of Sunday in Malaysia probably aren’t going to transform the 2015 World Championship, they have certainly reignited hope – hope, that the base competitiveness of people in motorsport will see Ferrari maintain its comeback momentum; will see Williams continue its progress; will see Red Bull get out of the hole it’s in; and will see McLaren-Honda fulfil the promise Fernando Alonso clearly thinks it has. Ferrari’s win yesterday was as much about smart choices in the tyre department, not stopping during that early Safety Car, getting better race mileage out of its rubber and two-stopping, as it was about reducing the outright speed gap to the class-leading Mercs. The silver cars still have the outright speedww but the gap has clearly been reduced by Ferrari. And it’s heartwarming to be reminded that, on any particular day, even the great Silver Arrows organization can get it wrong. Yup, they’re human too. A day like yesterday does, though, highlight the perils of being part of the motorsport media. I’m not looking forward to my next coffee ... You see, I have a small group of mates who gather at a quaint little coffee shop for a chat, which generally solves issues from world politics to local Aussie Rules football form. They see me as some form of F1 ‘insider’ and, while you and I know that the modern F1 PR ‘curtain’ massively reduces the direct contact that was once the case, they think I have ‘the knowledge’. Melbourne’s tedious race appeared to confirm my prime suspicion that Mercedes would be even further ahead this year and that the battle would be for second. That may well, on the basis of a couple more races, still end up being somewhere near it, but I’m afraid that other pre-season convictions are looking, er, a bit on the rubbish side... Along with columnist Doodson, and many others, I reckoned the revolving door and seeming disorganisation at Ferrari pointed to a year of continued strife – the red cars would be, again, trolling around at the bottom of the top 10 all year. Wrong. Mr Arrivabene has indeed done as his name suggests and turned up when Ferrari’s technical fortunes are skyrocketing. GPWEEK opined last issue that Merc could even go through 2015 unbeaten. Wrong. On the basis that Daniel Ricciardo had kicked his butt most of last year, I reckoned Sebastain Vettel was over-rated, had won the majority of his titles in a clearly superior car (to a degree true?) and would battle it out with Kimi for ninth and 10th. Wrong. As Kimi will I think come to learn, it’s those little one-percenters (like being first out for wet Q2) that a motivated Vettel will use to get results and win over the team. In fact, he already clearly has. Maybe he was just burnt out last year ... While Sunday gave us all hope that Formula 1, 2015-style, may not be the predictable snore we thought, the best image from the weekend, for me, was of Vettel post-race. I don’t think I saw that much raw emotion from him during his entire time at Red Bull. It’s great to see ... and maybe Kimi needs to relax (come on, smile Kimi) and let it all hang out a bit too, or he may find himself in that unenviable ‘yesterday’s man’ corner of the Ferrari garage. In the meantime, I’ve got problems of my own – the next coffee shop gathering could be embarrassing! That’s sport, I guess. OPINION cHris lAMBDeN