Jumpin Jack Fernando
Ferrari’s Lucky 13th – Sixty years ago Spanish speaking driver, Jose Froilan Gonzalez from the Argentine, gave Enzo Ferrari his first Formula 1 World Championship victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“That day I felt like stabbing my own mother,” Ferrari would recall later, as victory was achieved by beating his previous employer, Alfa-Romeo.
On Sunday at the same venue, another Spanish speaking driver would give Scuderia Ferrari their 13th victory in the British Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso’s first victory of the season is his 27th F1 triumph, equaling the number of wins by the three times world champion from Scotland, Jackie Stewart. Only Schumacher, Prost, Senna and Mansell have more wins. An amazing feat for a kid from a small town, Oviedo, in Spain who made his F1 debut driving a Minardi in 2001.
The 2011 season has been all about Red Bull and their German wunderkind, Sebastian Vettel. He grabbed the lead from second on the grid when the lights went out from pole-sitter and teammate Mark Webber. The Aussie, “not bad for a number two” and winner of the race last year would later receive team orders confirming the pecking order at the Austrian-owned UK-based team.
A rare slow pit-stop on lap 26 for Vettel gave Alonso the opportunity to take the lead and drive for his first victory since Korea last year; ironically, that also came at the expense of Vettel’s late race engine failure while in the lead.
Lewis Hamilton kept close company with his ex-McLaren teammate, but Alonso inched ahead lap by lap and at the end of the 52-lap race was 16.51s ahead of second placed man, Vettel, who came ahead of Hamilton after his pit stop.
Alonso was quoted on www.gpupdate.net “My championship hopes are very difficult because Sebastian keeps finishing all of the races first or second, so the only thing we can do is try to win every race we go to.”
Hamilton’s hope for a podium finish evaporated when the team instructed him to conserve fuel to finish the race. Webber seized the opportunity and passed him and began a fruitless pursuit of his teammate, which was tainted by team’s instructions to maintain position.
The 2008 World Champion, Hamilton, did finish the race but only after a dramatic and physical tussle with Felipe Massa’s Ferrari on the last corner of the last lap.
Vettel leads the championship with 204 points. In the nine races so far this season he has six wins and three second place finishes.
Webber is second with 124 points but still winless this season.
Alonso is third in the title chase on 112, three points ahead of McLaren duo of Hamilton and Button.
The Grand Prix circus moves to Germany in two weeks. Alonso won the race last year and by now there is no doubt Massa not only understands the message but also knows the script very well.
— Nasir Hameed
Greetings. Abbey and Vale regards.