Fernando Alonso and pit crew, 2015 Canada GP — modified after original from McLaren.com.

Montreal 2015: Sighs and grunts

I imagine that, at the end of the Canada Grand Prix, some sighed in relief and others grunted out in frustration. Hamilton gave sighed first, because first he crossed the finish line and removed the thorn — or the half cactus — that he carried since Monaco. The first grunt came from the second. After the lucky strike of the previous race, Rosberg returned to trailing his teammate in Canada. Mercedes self-imposed rules — 1. the one ahead changes his tires first, 2. they have to use both types of tire in the same order — limits any strategic option to challenge each other on the track. Perhaps it went unnoticed, but I suspect the frustration of Rosberg began on Saturday during qualifying, when his track engineer told him not to worry, that had mounted a set of “bad” tires and the next set ought to be “good”. Good and bad tires? This reminds me of certain comments from last year, made by Alonso among others, on inconsistent variations between sets of tires. Perhaps, instead messing around changing the rules every year, this circus headmasters should ensure that something as fundamental as the tires have the quality and consistency they should.

More sighs: Bottas. The Finn finally returned to the podium. From where he for sure could hear his compatriot grunting. Repeating last year’s feat, Kimi went spun on the hairpin, this time it costed him the podium, and he once again complained of the engine map. It seems that the Ferrari engine continues to produce torque peaks at inappropriate moments.

After their debacles on Saturday, Vettel and Massa also sighed in relief. Sixteenth and seventeenth, they became the men of the day. They signed two impeccable came backs to finish fifth and sixth, just behind their teammates. Along the way, they showed us some of the overtakes of the day.

Also relief for Maldonado. At last! Against all odds, the Venezuelan managed to finish a race this season. This time, Lotus’ frustration went to Grosjean. With a stupid trademark move, the French ruined his race and Stevens’. Puncture and penalty for the Frenchman, front wing change and frustration for the Englishman.

Frustration also for Toro Rosso and Red Bull. The straights of Montreal highlighted the lack of top speed and power of the Renault engine. If anything, just Sainz felt a bit of relief. He beat Verstappen again and, perhaps more importantly, he won the battle with Ricciardo, on the track, face to face.

Speaking of grunting and frustration, yesterday’s big prize went to McLaren-Honda. We all knew that the Canadian track would make a year’s worst for the current characteristics of the MP4–30, but the im-potency went so far not reached as high as to even give Alonso and Button options to fight with the Saubers and Toro Rossos. The Spaniard grunted it out on the radio: they had nothing at stake, so they better let him have fun and would worry saving fuel afterwards, when lapping alone. As if it weren’t enough to “look like amateurs”, two separate exhaust problems forced McLaren to withdraw both cars. After the race, Alonso and Button smiled again to the bad weather. They said that, despite the pitiful display, the McLaren continues to improve. They insisted that everything goes in the right direction. They reminded us that on the next race arrives the first major evolution, aerodynamics and engine, which should put them in the wake of Ferrari and Williams. They keep asking for patience and trust in the project and McLaren-Honda on this year of renewal and transition. This your humble servant recommends caution with the expectations for Austria. In the A1-Ring raw power rules. With or without evolution, it won’t make comfortable territory for the MP4–30.

#BelieveInMcLarenHonda


Translation from the Spanish original published in Antibiographía on June 8th, 2015 under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.