Another opportunity missed. McLaren had 1-2 in the pocket, and then Montoya’s car broke. :( Oh, damn.
After many, many races, we have witnessed a race where McLaren had 101% perfect strategy and they outsmarted everyone, even Ferrari. After the Q, I knew what Ferrari is trying to do. Schumacher had low fuel, and intention was to be at front and to getaway from everybody else on the track where overtaking is practically impossible. There was only one overtaking when Alonso passed one of Minardis and even that close call which says enough.
But what McLaren did was awesome thinking. Knowing that they have a fast car, they gave Kimi low fuel, I believe somewhere close to M.S. This gave Kimi a good starting position, he took advantage of it and passed Juan and Trulli and was able to follow Schumacher. However, no overtake was possible and McLaren called the move of the day: bring Kimi in, very early (lap 11) and give him solid amount of fuel - he stayed 8.3s which was fuel intake for around 20-22 laps - and then let him race across the clear track with no one to slow him down. He was fractionally faster then M.S before the stop (or at least even) and there was no sense to tow behind. Ferrari kept strict to their tactic and gave M.S. lower fuel in first pit (there was no time but I think it was around 6s) with clear intention of getting even further away until the second stop. But no luck.
Kimi has, by that time, already spent his fuel and was running as a maniac. Ferrari was in clear trouble when he went ahead of Schumacher. It seemed also that Schumacher had handling problems after that stop and there was not stopping for McLarens then, nothing but of their own making. It was Montoya this time. Too bad really, as he was on a 2-stop strategy and it was clear that he would contend for the victory with Kimi, after the last round of pit stops. By the end, Kimi went 35s ahead, clearly showing that the only real competitor to McLaren is McLaren itself. Everyone else are in the class below at the moment.
It’s very surprising that Renault was out of points. Alonso was out of the race at the beginning when he collided and lost the front wing, but even Fisico could not get to the points. I would not say that they are slipping…maybe their car this year is much different than the last year, so that they are good on other tracks but bad on this one - clear opposite from previous years. Who knows…
Very good showing from Toyota. 3rd and 4th, this is the best result for them this year. But related to them is the best thing I have ever seen in years, when it comes to TV producing. On Premiere Live, at the start of each race, they display three key facts that decide the race. It’s usually things like engine, tires, corner speed, track condition, weather etc. However, this year the no.2 key fact was: Jarno Trulli. Yes, they singled out one driver. :D
To everyone following F1 (or reading each of my reports), you know that Trulli is always good in Qs, but he’s somehow slow in the race and everyone in front go away, and there is always 4-6 drivers packed behind Trulli. Combine with the overtaking-impossible track and Trulli’s 3rd grid position, the race producer clearly recognized the Trulli will be deciding factor. And indeed, M.S., Kimi and Juan went ahead and Trulli was the locomotive of the racing train. :)
Hats off to race producer.
Also to note is the spectacular start, with lots of contacts and Klien rolling sideways after a “touch” with Villeneuve. It was a while since we had that much problems at the start. Then again…Belgium is getting close. ;)