It was only last week that I attended the 2013 British Grand Prix and the latest episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast ‘From Puncture-stone to Puncture-ring?’ has all the inside news and of course, humour! While the 2013 German Grand Prix has started off without any tyre failures, will the Pirellis hold together in the race?
- Lewis Hamilton: 3rd pole of the 2013 Formula1 Season, 29th pole overall (on par with Fangio!), Hamilton out-paced Vettel by a tenth in a closely fought session. He is due his first win with Mercedes, will it be tomorrow though?
- Sebastian Vettel: I am always amazed how Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen always manage to keep themselves in the fight despite the numerous changes that happen around them. The German is my favourite to win the race with his RB9 showing superior race pace.
- Mark Webber: Did great to be only a tenth off Vettel and would love to see him fight his team-mate (Vettel) for the race win. Multi21, anyone?
- Kimi Raikkonen: Have Lotus solved their qualifying woes? This session wouldn’t be a true indication because the Ferraris were on a different strategy and a Mercedes was knocked out in Q2.
- Romain Grosjean: Only a tenth off the Iceman, will he manage an incident-free race tomorrow?
- Daniel Ricciardo: He’s further staking his claim for Webber’s seat in Red Bull. But isn’t it Kimi Raikkonen to Red Bull Racing for the 2014 Formula1 Season?
- Felipe Massa: Did well to out-pace Alonso. Given that he topped Q1 & Q2, had Ferrari opted for a regular tyre strategy (i.e. used the softs in Q3), would he have clinched pole? The question will remain unanswered, forever!
- Fernando Alonso: The Spanish Samurai (if you follow his tweets, you’ll know!) will be hoping his tyre strategy allows him to get within a fighting distance to Vettel. But will it be for a race win, podium, or nothing at all? While it is good to think of an alternate strategy, the risk vs. reward seems actually high this season! (Read: Alonso To Endorse Raymond Suitings)
- Jenson Button: It was ‘mission accomplished’ for Mclaren and Button as they made it through Q3 and beat both the Sahara Force Indias enroute!
- Nico Hulkenberg: Home race for ‘The Hulk’. Would love to see him do well tomorrow!
- Nico Rosberg: A team call to not attempt for a second run in Q2 saw the potential pole sitter eliminated in Q2 itself! After being on pole 3 times this season and qualifying in the top 6 at all races, it was a first for Rosberg to be eliminated! Only solace would be an extra set of tyres for Race Day. What can he manage from P11? I expect a master strategy from Ross Brawn and the team (Read: Ross Brawn vs. Adrian Newey; Ross Brawn’s Last Season In Formula1)
- Paul Di Resta: The warmer track temperatures were probably not suiting the VJM06 and the team was unable to show the pace they did in Silverstone last weekend. All fans should pray for cooler track temperatures tomorrow!
- Sergio Perez: Ragged, shabby, eliminated in Q2.
- Esteban Gutierrez
- Adrian Sutil: P15 was due to a DRS failure in Q2. Would love to see him rise up the ranks in the race tomorrow.
- Jean Eric Vergne: What on earth!! Consistency is what he needs to beat Ricciardo to Webber’s seat.
- Valtteri Bottas: out-qualified Maldonado yet again…
- Pastor Maldonado: Time to boot him out? Err! Need a replacement for PDVSA!
- Charles Pic
- Jules Bianchi
- Giedo Van Der Garde
- Max Chilton
Thankfully we have had no blow-outs yet and the drivers’ threat to boycott the race fell away. However, if you were to observe Silverstone (like Rishi pointed out), the blow-outs essentially happened only on Race Day. Will we see more blow-outs? I hope not! (Read: Our Secret Tyre Test With Pirelli; An Indian Solution To Pirelli’s Tyre Woes)
What I do hope though is for Rosberg, Di Resta and Sutil to make up ground in the race tomorrow and fight for bigger chunk of points. But who will fall back? Mercedes seem to have solved their tyre woes, which means will it be Button and/or Ricciardo? The prospect of nearly 16 drivers able to legitimately fight for points is what makes the race even more interesting!