Even if you are a Lewis Hamilton fan, that was a good result in Spain. Formula One needed a different winner and Nico Rosberg certainly needed to open his account. On the day at that Andy Murray acknowledged that his recent marriage had influenced his win over Rafa Nadal in Madrid, maybe Nico was feeling that impending fatherhood was doing the same.
(Incidentally, I feel sorry for the future grandfather – but that’s another story!)
How often do we hear that ‘everything just went right this weekend’ in motor sport, because that was Nico’s reasoning for his performance? It sure did go right and one of two things went slightly wrong for his teammate. So why can’t ‘things go right’ every weekend?
Mark Webber used to say the same about things just ‘going right.’ I guess all the tiny details that go towards making up a weekend all have to click into place. Nico has fallen away from Lewis in the last couple of races – whatever came over the radio, you could just see the gap between them increasing. This time it was reversed, it was Lewis who was dropping away. He had to go for the alternative strategy to try and get the better of Nico but it just didn’t work out.
It’s as interesting to see how they handle their disappointment as it is to see how they handle success, and that’s where Lewis can let himself down. None of the drivers want to finish second, they’re not in F1 to do that and most of them have done a lot of winning, so they know what it’s like. And no one wants to finish second, nor perhaps be labelled ‘a good loser’ because second is the first loser.
But what happens when you do finish second? Are you so down in the dumps that you’re miserable for the afternoon? The day? The next couple of days? A week? And how much does that bring you down? I remember Martin Whitmarsh saying of one of the McLaren drivers that when he had an argument with his girlfriend it would affect him for two races. It’s important that Lewis doesn’t get that way. He wears his heart on his sleeve; when he’s disappointed or his personal life is in a bad way, all of us in F1 know about it. He has to bounce back.
OK, that bit about being a good loser could be addressed to Jenson Button these days. I interviewed him at the end of the drivers’ parade, trying to put a positive spin on his woes and he was still polite and smiling yet the rate of progress must grate for both he and Fernando Alonso. Occasionally things look good, only for the outcome to be more of the same as before. Team boss Ron Dennis says that McLaren will win and will dominate – do we really want to hear that? – but the only question is when?
Ferrari and Williams had interesting races, I thought. We were all looking forward to seeing what came out of the updates to the cars after the first four races and it seems as if Ferrari have slipped back from behind Mercedes. The gap from the Mercedes winner to the first Ferrari had gone up in comparison to the last few races, or maybe that was Rosberg’s pace.
Williams needed downforce and they needed it at Barcelona where it makes a difference, so for them to be nearly in contention with Ferrari there was good news for the British team. And for the second race in succession, Valtteri Bottas had a massive job to do to hold onto his place. But if Williams are going to get second in the championship race, they’ve got to pluck some more technical tweaks out of the hat and with James Allison in the other camp doing the same thing, that’s going to be a tall order. Finally, it was great to see ‘the boys’ doing so well for Toro Rosso in qualifying, even if they did slip back in the race.
It was a lovely sunny weekend in Spain, and one of the things that amazed me in our rather random suburb was just how cheap the food was. We went to a nice little restaurant that we found last year, and the boss nearly fell on his knees thanking us for coming to his establishment. I’m not sure if I took advantage of the improved rate of exchange for us Brits while I was there, but it is a pretty good rate and we paid less than 20 euros a head for pretty good meal each time. But that rate of exchange is going to work against me, however, because I am paid in euros to do the commentary, so I’m going to lose out there.
It was a pretty busy weekend of commentary, with all GP3, GP2 and Porsche sessions plus F1 in both English and French. It was the first rounds of the GP3 and Porsches, but the third and fourth races for GP2 where Stoffel Vandoorne is very much the man to beat. Poor Mitch Evans, fresh from his podium in LMP2 at Spa, got on the podium for the first race but ground to a halt before the start of the second. But I thought Alex Lynn did a fantastic job to lead home Vandoorne in Sunday’s race with a really well-measured and mature drive.
Now we have a few days before the onslaught to the senses that is Monaco. Nico and Lewis both sleep in their own beds there and in many ways it will the quietest race for them in that they will just sneak back to their apartments and have a quite night by the telly – or something. It’s home for Nico, adopted home for Lewis who has promised news of his ongoing negotiations with Mercedes regarding his future. It can be a very busy weekend again for the rest of us and once again a circuit where it’s difficult to overtake. We shall see.
By Bob Constanduros