Wheels24

Rencken: 'It's all over, Schumi'

2012-07-30 08:28


The top five title contenders all headed for Budapest from Hockenheim for the opener of the second half of the 20-round FIA Formula 1 championship with utterly different objectives.

Current leader Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, on 154 points after 10 of 20 rounds, had just one thing in mind, namely to at least consolidate his lead over Red Bull’s Mark Webber (120), who has endured a zero-hero-zero season to date.

Webber aimed to at least smooth the spikes while closing up on the Ferrari driver ahead of the sport’s four-week summer break.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Reigning double champion Sebastian Vettel (110) was intent on hauling in Red Bull Racing team mate Webber, who for two years had driven in the shadow of the Wunderkind, but now had two victories on his 2012 card to Vettel’s one.

Nothing short of victory would appease Vettel, who planned to excise the painful memory of losing second in Germany (to Alonso) after an ill-judged penultimate lap desperation saw him overtake McLaren’s Jenson Button.

For Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen (98) the mission could not be more simple: score a first victory since returning to F1 after two vagabond seasons in World Rally. His Lotus had, whether in his hands of those of team mate Romain Grosjean, proven to have the pace; now it was simply a matter of stringing it all together on the Sunday afternoon in forecast sweltering conditions.

Then there was Lewis Hamilton (92), McLaren’s star of mercurial recent seasons; he who had been caught clubbing in recent weeks by the British tabloid media, which had in turn done what it does best: assassinate every sports(wo)man to fly the Union Jack.

Hamilton had to prove that partying and driving are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The best way of doing thus would surely be to add victory to his Canadian success. In the end it was Hamilton who could rightly claim “mission accomplished” after dominating every single session on the tight, dusty Hungaroring

Whether in FPs1-3 (dry or wet) during qualifying or the race, eventually taking a lights-to-flag victory for McLaren in conditions which drove the mercury to a high of 33C, in turn resulting in track temperatures of close on 50C.

Hamitlon said: “I was under a lot of pressure throughout all 69 laps. First, Romain [Grosjean] and then Kimi [Räikkönen] were right behind me, all the way through, and I had to look after my tyres without letting my pace drop, which was pretty tricky at times,”

Did he say 69 laps? We’ll come to that…

Räikkönen came to within a second of achieving his objective, but in this business a miss is a good as a mile. However, after the break the “Silent One” faces two of his favourite circuits, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza on which to continue his quest.

Räikkönen hounded Hamilton over the last 10 laps, having first ruthlessly dispensed with team mate Grosjean, who seemed set to finish second after starting alongside the McLaren and staying there for 40 laps through superb tyre management.

Räikkönen hoped Hamilton’s new medium Pirellis would fail to last the final distance, but was destined to take second to add to his Bahrain runner-up slot.

‘BUMBLING OLD MAN’

Grosjean eventually made it a second two-three for Lotus, having looked comfortable behind Hamilton in the opening stages, but only after thwarting the early attentions of Vettel and Button. Michael Schumacher proved to be his undoing, as Grosjean lost 1.5 seconds while lapping the (once) legendary champion. Those vital fractions meant Kimi was alongside him as he exited the pits after his final stop, who granted him not an inch as they headed into T1 side-by-side.

Having qualified a lowly 17th, at the start Schumacher failed to park up at his designated grid slot – causing an aborted start and an additional formation, in turn reducing the race to 69 laps, then sped through the pit lane after being forced to start from there and was given a drive-through penalty. A puncture added to his weekend’s woes, which included a crash in FP3, and having elected to retire early due to high engine temperatures in his Mercedes, slunk away on a holiday he could put to good use by seriously reconsidering his future in the sport.

He is increasingly being viewed as a bumbling old man in a youngsters’ business and should make way for the likes of Paul di Resta sooner rather than later.

Vettel finished fourth, thus failing in his quest but at least closing the gap on Alonso by two points, so it proved a frustrating race for the German, particularly as the FIA outlawed Red Bull’s engine mapping between the two races after smelling something untoward in Germany. The team stated the map was worth “maybe a hundredth of a second per lap” and on the tightest grid in the history of the sport that makes all the difference.

Alonso was the only other title challenger to achieve his pre-race objective, finishing fifth (from sixth on the grid) to Webber’s eighth (11th) , Alonso being protected from attack by the by Button in sixth and the seventh-placed Williams of Bruno Senna.

Alonso (now on 164) opened his cushion over Mark to 40 points, equal to a win and a third place, as the series heads for the final two European rounds ahead of a long, seven-race fly-away haul.

Any wonder Alonso was grinning broadly as he waltzed off to Andalucía on holiday?

Felipe Massa proved why Ferrari failed to take up the option on his 2013 services by spinning his wheels at the start after qualifying seventh, losing two place in the process and there he stayed for 69 laps as his team mate fought at the sharpish end.

The result? Lotus overhauled Ferrari for fourth in the Constructors’, something the Italian team was clearly miffed about.

The final points’ place went to Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, his Chinese Grand Prix victory in April now a distant memory as his team struggles to get the better of Pirelli.

However, Hamilton had no such problems and will now surely continue his partying while on holiday in a destination he refused to reveal when asked.

IMAGE GALLERY!

Formula 1 action resumes on August 31 - September 2 in Belgium.

Comments
  • iYesssss - 2012-07-30 11:48

    Obviously Rencken is not a Shumi fan, but cannot see past this to see that the still legendary champion (he hasn't died yet) has an under performing and unreliable car. Even Rosberg is taking strain. Also, is racing not about being able to pass other racers, instead of pit stops and blue flags? Rencken should work with facts instead of his personal preference.

  • chriscdow - 2012-07-30 14:04

    Does wheels24 not have an editor? This article is barely written in English. It is also full of inaccuracies and blatant bias. Poor effort, Mr Rencken.

  • helmut.smrz - 2012-07-30 15:02

    Schumi Fan " please retire " before people get bad memory's of you

  • cobus.fenwick - 2012-07-30 15:16

    Well said iYessss and chriscdow. As if he was the only one that saw the race. It is so clear (to those who can see) that it is not like the past. Rosberg was boosted to say that he outperformed Michael, and now that he does not perform at all it is Mercedez? One win! Maldonado, one win, should I carry on!!!!! The next new winner will be Kimi and Michael will win a race this year just to keep (those who cannot see) happy and talking. Michael's car performed like the backmarkers. MS fan or not, I'm not blind to see that F1 is for the money these days and not for individual performance. Those cars as so much the same that in no circumstances would one car outperform the other every week. Michael take pole in Monaco and struggle to catch the Marrusians in Hungary. If that makes sence, then anything can. Rencken must be a WWF fan aswell, or just in his own world, maybe he gets paid to write what he do, that would be a shame.

  • anarayanasamy - 2012-07-30 17:18

    Its not fair, Schumi's always criticised even when he is not at the front as well. People always magnify his mistakes because of who he is. His comeback has been less successful, but if one looks at his team mate, you can not say he is being outclassed, outpaced maybe, but not out classed. Has Rosberg been able to challenge for the world championship in the 3years Schumi's raced with him as a team mate? No, Merc do not have race winning pace as simple as that. At the circuits where the car has been competitive he has been at the front, he has a off weekend and he now a "bumbling old man". Its not like he is a Massa, who is being blown away by Alonso. Disappointed with the contents wrt to Schumi in this article. I bet if he where in the Lotus/Williams/Sauber he would win some races.

  • markvonbentheim - 2012-07-30 20:54

    Renken, you are a complete hack of a reporter. Wheels24, please could you edit this drivel in future.

  • colingkearns - 2012-07-31 07:19

    Dieter 3 races ago Schumi had a podium? So he had a nightmare this last weekend, the week prior to that Hamilton had his nightmare..so what is he an overrated spoilt little brat? Don't you get it? Schumi loves to race even if the package is not up to it - he missed racing and came back and loves being back in the thick of things, there are a lot of younger drivers with better cars that are struggling to get decent results.

  • david.goliath.355 - 2012-07-31 07:46

    Time for you to retire Mr Rencken, I usually never read Renckens drivel but this time I couldn't pass up a chance to comment.

  • cyrus.mongol - 2012-07-31 15:47

    Schumie should just retire. He reminds me of a 40year old plus footballer who doesnt want to hang up his boots. Yes you have been the most dominating driver in the history of the sport and if not the greatest of all time, holds the most records etc etc the list goes on but at your age Schumie, i think you should try DTM PS: Even though you are close behind your team mate and you have a bad car, the fact is Rosberg has proven to be better than you and he will only get better.

      justin.rautenbach.9 - 2012-08-03 08:02

      Schumi has nothing to prove to anyone. he is still dedicated to the sport and has had a few misfortunes this year. Why should he retire when he is still a major drawcard and valuable to the sport. Fangio started racing late in life as did many other drivers in the early days of the sport. I think , with better opportunities he is still a major title contender.

  • colin.ashby.35 - 2012-08-01 14:59

    retire soon pls before your fans become non fans

  • Mitch Brooks - 2012-08-01 22:35

    Put Schumacher in a ferrari, lotus or red bull and he'd be right up there. At the end of the day it comes down to frustration caused by Mercedes GP's inconsistency , something that Ross Brawn STATED himself. The fact that he was able to pull off a podium in Valencia in such a struggling car tells you something. Flashbacks of Senna in the beginning of the 94 season with a clearly below par Williams-Renault . Rencken knows nothing. Opinion needs factual support

      mark.singh.9889 - 2012-08-02 14:14

      But Rosberg has already had a victory in that "struggling car". Schumi only has 1 poduim to show for after 2 and a half season in that car. Face it, he is way past his sell by date. he should just give it up and make way for a better, younger talent. Schumi is just trying to be the Riaan Cruywagen of F1

      richard.rose.75286 - 2012-09-20 08:57

      Ive watched Schumi from his very first F1 race. He struggled with the Farrari for a few years until he got the car right. He is now going through the same birthpains and I hope he sticks it out coz once he gets his new car right there will be no catching him. Go Michael go, you are the greatest strategist I have ever seen over the past 30+ years, you have the reputation of Rain-master - you can do it again, and you are the only one I know that has served his time as a F-1 Motor racing mechanic. I wanna see you wip the aas off those young ankle-snappers, you can do it.......

  • Mitch Brooks - 2012-08-01 22:38

    .

  • andre.hugo.923 - 2012-08-06 18:05

    Pity Schumi's come back was not successful, think his fans including me would never have predicted that, fact remains he is a seven times world champion and his achievements are unlikely to ever be beaten!

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