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GP Week : Issue 160
It’s been a good week for Spain. First Fernando Alonso wins on home asphalt, then the national football team make Italy look like amateurs in the European cup final. Both performances were spectacular. For Alonso (Fernando, not Xabi), it was the most emotional afternoon of his life. For Ferrari, it was a welcome tonic. Having started the year with a dog of a car they’ve made great progress. But it is still not as composed and grippy as the Red Bull or Lotus – prompting Luca di Montezemolo to rally the Scuderia last week, telling them not to rest on their laurels. It’s Alonso that makes the difference. He has seized every opportunity this year, and scored results that have left the Scuderia’s pitwall number crunchers scratching their heads wondering where he finds the speed. This season is so tight, but we’re now seeing the most commanding lead in the championship yet. The Spaniard moves up to first place with 111 points, ahead of Mark Webber. If Alonso continues to show the consistency he has over the course of the season, that 20-point buffer will serve him well. Lewis Hamilton, who was leading after Canada, is now third in the title chase, three points behind Webber. His penultimate lap crash with Pastor Maldonado left him thumping his steering wheel is disbelief as he saw his podium disappear. Maldonado blamed Hamilton for not giving him enough room, but the line was Lewis’s, he was right to turn in where he did and it was up to the Williams driver – who had left the track - to take avoiding action. The Venezuelan’s failure to accept responsibility proves his lack of sense just as the move did in the first place. I’ve said this before: Maldonado is extremely quick, and he’s a lovely chap, but he’s also crazy and a disaster waiting to happen. I expect the other drivers to challenge him strongly in their next group meeting, behind closed doors at Silverstone. Playing bumper cars at this level is unacceptable, and the stewards’ decision to add 20 seconds to his race time, knocking him out of the points, was lenient. Someone needs to find him a home in NASCAR. With Spain’s moment in the sun now passed, attention moves to Blighty where I arrived yesterday to catch the last day of the Goodwood Festival of Speed (pictured), have a blast up the hill, stuff myself with burgers and champagne, and introduce a Spanish contessa to motor racing ahead of her teaching me about footie. Goodwood is a grand pre-cursor to the British Grand Prix, whetting the appetite of petrolheads ahead of Silverstone. The next few days will be a PR blur for us journos. The loudest buzz has been Santander ’s CGI proposal for a London Grand Prix. It would be great of course, a fraction of the cost of the Olympics and perhaps with a stronger return in the long run. But can you really imagine them digging up and relaying 2.5 miles of the capital – the Mall, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square? The ensuing traffic chaos would cancel out the tourism coffers. Nice idea, never gonna happen. SPAIN 2, REST OF EUROPE 0 OPINION OPINION ADAM HAY-NICHOLLS F1 Editor 19 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: