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
For more F1 Words of Wisdom from Windsor, CLICK HERE to check out his website: www.theflyinglap.com in 2009-10. Lots of microscopically small foot and hand movements, all of which added up to a smooth-looking lap that the media would describe simply as ‘easy” or “relaxed”. Lots on inputs – and lots of platform around which to manage those inputs. No ‘moments’. No dashes for the line. No locked inside fronts. No loaded rear ‘bobbles’ on the kerbs. Just a lap about as perfect as one can be driven in this car, on these tyres, on this day. Thirty seconds before the chequered flag, Lewis became the first driver to break the 1min 35 sec barrier. 1min 34.974 sec! Faces lit up in the McLaren garage. The world TV feed was unaccountably showing only Fernando and Jenson with a little bit of last-minute Lewis. Webber crossed the line. 1min 35.179. Where was Seb? Seb was sculpting it out. He exited the last corner, RBR7 perfectly-positioned. Hard acceleration, keeping the car tucked to the right, absolutely straight. 1min 34. 870 sec! The Sepang pole was his. You don’t get too carried away; you don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do normally, even though you’ve won the World Championship and you’ve won the pole again – won it against drivers like Lewis and Mark. You are polite and you talk to every journalist who asks a question. And then you thank the team and sit down with them to digest. The big issue, pre-race, was of course to do with KERS. It’s one thing to say that it’s 80 extra horsepower; it’s another to be able to use that extra bhp without ruining the handling balance or putting so much energy through the rear tyres that it compromises their life. It was obvious that RBR had to use KERS off the line in Sepang – they would be swamped if they did not – but what would be its advantage versus disadvantages in the race that followed? For all its power and its so-called benefits, it is a complex, complicated addition that can go wrong at any moment, particularly in a car that is as tighly-packaged as the RBR7. Indeed, Mark’s KERS system proved tetchy in qualifying – so much so that it was moved away a little from the other cars in Parc Ferme because of the potential for some sort of electricity-related drama. Clouds loomed as the 16:00 start time drew near but the word on the grid was that rain, if it came, was at least 30 min away. Seb accelerated away cleanly but Lewis, as expected, quickly narrowed the gap. Seb perfectly used his mirrors and his body language to shut down any discussion about the first corner – but it was a closely- run thing. Had the pole been on the left, and had Seb and Lewis made the same starts as they did in reality, Lewis would possibly have had a very clear run into the the Turn 1 apex. As it was, he queued up behind Seb and suddenly found Nick Heidfeld on his outside. And if you’re on the outside of T1 at Sepang you’re on the inside for T2. Lewis had to back away and lose position. Which gave Seb the race, in effect. He could peel away from Nick virtually as he chose – and he chose to do so with discretion, watching his tyres and using his KERS with caution. The only tense moments came just before mid-race, when he was advised not to use his KERS system at all. Mark had indeed had a further problem off the line, swamping him down to the mid-field, and thoughts of rock-solid reliability now ruled the RBR pit-wall. On hearing the news, you could almost see the relief in Seb’s track language. Driving the RBR7 in harmony with the road, the tyres and the fuel load, and not relying upon an artificial boost perhaps to make up for some other shortcoming, Seb at this point began to pull away from the McLarens, demoralizing them totally. A radio message exhorted Jenson to “get near to Vettel if you can; he’s got a KERS problem” – but Jenson could do nothing about it. Without KERS, the Red Bull and Vettel was a McLaren-beating package. Seb maximised the tyre advantage he had earned in qualifying. He sat squarely in the middle of Adrian Newey’s sweet spot, massaging the maximum from his tyres in all four stints. Lewis, carrying those extra q- laps into the race, would eventually stop Seb perfectly used his mirrors and his body language to shut down any discussion about the first corner ... 24