The Bigger Picture:
So that’s about it, folks. The Constructor’s title (team trophy), that was still ‘wide open’ to most Indian statistical number-crunching analysts, is well and done. Finished. Over. Kaput. Red Bull Renault now lead McLaren by 140 points, with only 129 available points left for the remainder of the season.
Now, leading to the first-ever Indian Grand Prix, most of us would want to crib about how the season may have manipulated itself into panning out to be like this- wrapped up, just two weeks ahead of the race we’ve all looked forward to- but look at the bright side. The protagonists of this potboiler are alive and kicking, with the quartet of Button, Hamilton, Alonso and Webber still scrapping like bulldogs for the few points that are available every race. Noida could see the culmination of that contest, with ANYONE who crashes out or retires, sure to lose out on a podium position in the final standings.
We can’t really celebrate that kid Vettel anymore, so let’s try to add a bit of spice to proceedings.
The Reservoir Indians
The Smaller Picture:
Vettel won the race by a comfortable margin, and never really looked in trouble- except qualifying where RBR’s 16-race pole record was snapped by a fiery Hamilton. Service was resumed at the race, though, with Vettel taking just a lap to relegate the Brit to his rightful position, and then zoom away to help his team seal their second consecutive title.
What happened behind him in this dreary affair, was the real story at hand. The inseparable quartet ended one behind the other (with positions not really mattering anymore) with a mere 3.4 seconds between them. Hamilton drove his best over the last 3 months, finally avoiding controversy, suicide attempts, brainfreeze, arrogance and daftness- all in ONE race. He picked up an impressive podium to show for it, with Webber failing to do in more than 60 laps what Vettel managed to do in a single lap. He tortured and pushed Lewis to the limit, did Webber, but in the end- the gritty Aussie was just not good enough. After all, he isn’t really the best driver out of the top five. Not even close. The car he has been given, has been converted time and again into a hovercraft by his younger German Champion team-mate…and he has done just about enough to be called a ‘Championship team’ racing driver- something competitors (in denial) like Massa and Hamilton may never understand. When Red Bull team principal Christian Horner joined his drivers on the podium, what we saw was one of the most dominant sporting setups on this planet, standing on one stage.
The good news for the rest of the mortals? Di Resta finished in the points for the 4th time in 6 races for Force India. Rosberg edged ahead of his disillusioned young teammate Schumacher and Toro Rosso continue to churn out considerable young racing talent in the form of Jamie Alguersairi and Bueimi.
Who’s your Papa?
The Real Picture:
The moment half of this country North of Gujarat has waited for, is almost here. We are a mere 10 days away from touchdown, and as of now, the fastest circus on this planet is all set to be given a roasting hot welcome to the country they’ve always ‘wished to visit for the elephants’, but never ended up actually doing so.
The standings are irrelevant for top-dog lovers, but there is plenty of action in store for perpetual underdog-enthusiasts. Don’t expect miracles (like Hamilton having another clean race or SRK not showing up in costume), but be free to expect the unexpected (like a few ‘minor’ issues with the track, maybe?) One isn’t too sure, though, if the duo of Vettel and Schumacher will ever survive being lynched at Indira Gandhi International Airport, or ever get over the fact that they may have to drive around cows and errant humans to reach their hotels. They might just survive being entrusted with friendly nicknames like ‘Bastian Bhai’ and ‘Shoe-maker dada’ by the excited crowd at Noida on the weekend.
The countdown, that began 12 weeks ago, has truly begun. Just your fingertips, this time, kids. Let’s go!