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GP Week : Issue 117
21 GPWEEK OPINION >> The script is great – even if we do know the ending most of us felt, been in front. Simoncelli had the line. This was not the first time Pedrosa had erred under braking: it was exactly how he took team-mate Hayden out in the notorious Estoril orange-on- orange incident of 2006 (it very nearly cost Nicky the title). Having had the chance since then to frame-by-frame it, several times a day, my own opinion is veering away once more. Dani was ahead when he started braking; Simoncelli only just back in front as he committed to the corner. The Italian might say now he had left Pedrosa enough room, but looking at the film even Dani isn’t quite that small. Simoncelli’s move was marginal at best, and perhaps the penalty is timeous. He might think twice before he pulls another quite so fierce ‘desperate’. Or will he? If he still thinks he’s right, after his own frame-by-frame excursions, he will instead be burning with righteous indignation, and have an even bigger point to prove. How about the effect on other riders? Most of them, Rossi and Hayden excepted, were already whingeing on about Simoncelli’s forceful tactics. His crunch with Dani couldn’t have been a better way of underlining their point. He’s the tough kid on the block, and being in trouble with the police just makes him more so. When it comes to hand-to-hand combat, you’d want to give him a wide ber th. So, as with his argument with Lorenzo at Estoril, Simoncelli emerges from the incident stronger. Whether he has right on his side or not. It will be interesting to see him lock horns with Rossi: meantime Valentino is taking full benefit of the unsettling effect on his rivals. There is one loser. Dani Pedrosa’s fragile body suffered another fracture; his season is screwed. I wonder what he will make of it all, in all the time he will Lewis, JB, Webber and Alguersuari were lucky not to have been penalized – possibly on the grid in Monaco – for setting their fastest laps after Heikki Kovalainen hit the tyre wall at Turn 4. “In a race situation, you see the yellow flags and you always back off,” Jenson said afterwards. With a straight face. But the FIA gave them the benefit of the doubt, keeping the result as it is. Besides, time penalties would have changed nothing because they were so far up the road from Alonso. Fernando’s fifth place was an anti-climax after leading at the start. But what a start. Massive cojones, the Spaniard was fired up in front of his home crowd and kept his foot in it even when he was squeezed by Webber. It was one of the bravest starts I have ever seen. Frankly, after entertainment like that, it doesn’t matter where he finished. He should earn a third title just for that. But with Vettel taking another scalp, one feels we know how this movie is going to end. It doesn’t matter. There are enough car chases, explosions (Nick Heidfeld’s fireball in free practice), and violence (yes, everyone is still talking about Adrian Sutil’s fight) to keep us riveted to our seats. THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT