by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 111
Bullet with butterfly wings ANALYSIS Peter Windsor F1 Columnist Ihad lunch with a McLaren man before the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix (I say ‘Malaysian’ in protest here, because the ‘powers that be’ have decreed that we must disregard adjectives and call the race ‘Malaysia Grand Prix’) and his verdict was firm: he thought – and for sure still thinks – that we are entering a new era of Sebastian Vettel domination, the like of which we have not seen in F1 since the golden days of Michael. He even went on to cast Mark Alan Webber in the role of Rubens Goncalves Barrichello, although you’d have to say straight off that Christian Horner and the RBR guys have done a great job of not imposing team orders, even when the going gets tough. I repeat this not because the lunch was excellent but because it is quite something when members of the oppo, like McLaren, have the dignity to raise their hats that high: I must be honest and admit that I will never name the name of the McLaren guy who said all this but I can assure you that he knows his stuff. And it looks as though he is not wrong. What we saw in Melbourne, and then again in Sepang, was a case study in how to win a motor race if you have the best car but nonetheless have (a) a very quick team- mate to beat in both qualifying and the race; (b) teams like McLaren and Ferrari to out-muscle all weekend; and (c) drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso to out-start, out-perform and out-think. When you can do all that and make it look easy, and win not only your fourth race in a row and your second back-to- back in Malaysia – well, then maybe you are looking at a Michael in ’02, or a Jackie Stewart in ’71 or a Niki Lauda in ‘75. Everything, in that case, happens as it should: you don’t get flustered when your team-mate dominates both sessions on Friday and your car doesn’t feel too brilliant, particularly in the quick stuff. You sit down with your guys and you go through a few things and you go to bed knowing that tomorrow will be a different day and that it’s important to keep the mind clear. You don’t allow yourself to get carried away by the flurry of ‘TV laps’ near the end of FP3 – nor by the drama with the dodgy TV onboard mount that would keep the FOM guys amused. Instead, you let others do the talking and you think only of qualifying – of the usual things (lean on the rear just a tad going in to Turn Five; be gentle with the turn-in through the slower stuff; find a squared-up ‘flat’ area for braking under load into Turn 14) and also of the new, slightly annoying gizmos – the rear wing and the KERS. And – crucial in 2011, with the reduction in tyre allocation (six sets in total by the time you get to qualifying) – use the absolute minimum number of Pirellis. One set (one quick lap) in Q1, one set in Q2 and two sets in Q3. Maximum. Make it work. Make it happen. It’s not enough just to 22