The Catalunya Post Mortem – El desastre español

Sigh. Formula 1 has the power to humble you like nothing else in life (Let’s leave aside mathematics, shall we?).

Exactly one week ago marked the re(d)surgence of Ferrari. Everyone spoke of their genius pilot and how he was going to overhaul the incumbent Alphonso and waltz away with yet another world championship. Then Barcelona happened. Sigh. How humbling.

In a sense, the Catalunya result should not be surprising. Renault, still have the best car. We are not talking big margins, no, but in Catalunya the smallest differences are biggest magnified – A marginally superior car ends up being appreciably quicker.

The reason, then, for my extreme disappointment is the fact that Ferrari did look rather strong over the weekend. You see, there was hope. Yes, this was Renault territory. Yes, this was a Michelin circuit. Yes, a Spanish world champion was driving in front of his fervent countrymen. But there was that darned hope. Both Friday Practices demonstrated that the reds had the pace. Okay, they qualified 3rd, but it was overtly clear that the Ferrari’s were heavy. They were on hard tyres. They would run long and leverage their awesome long run pace. They held strategic high ground. The Renaults were minced meat. Renault was the hapless bull while Ferrari was the deft, sublime Enrique Ponce. Right?

Wrong. We couldn’t have been farther away from reality. Ponce got gored. Michael himself was mystified, and while he admitted that the Renault pace was unrelenting, also emphasized that even minor, capricious factors like wind direction and temperature (which was hotter than expected) can have substantial performance repercussions. And these substantial repercussions ensured that the Spanish mango won at home. And what a crushing victory it was.

Is all hope lost, then? Not really. Felipe had his moment of glory when he set the fastest lap (I only wish he had overhauled Fisi). Ferrari is still very much in the thick of things. it’s just that the momentum has swung a little bit away.

Monaco in 2 weeks. How long has it been since a Renault failure?

Ps: Although my tone suggests it, I don’t dislike Fernando. He’s awesome. Truly so. It’s just that I’m just a bigger Michael fan. Sue me!

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