J G Ballard
Yes it was!
This was the first race of the season, and given the changes to the rules and format, perhaps it isn't too surprising
The 'qualifiers' on Saturday were a darn sight more interesting with all the drivers trying their damndest to get to grips with their new cars, hoping to do well enough to snatch a decent grid position for today's race. Fuel taken aboard could probably have been measured with an egg cup because they were all aware that they would ALL be required to fill their tanks before the actual race and it was unnecessary to attempt to qualify with a heavily laden car.
When you consider that the rebuilt cars for the 2010 season are sporting 250-litre fuel tanks compared to the 80-litre tanks in previous years, you begin to understand that computation and complication are uneasy bedfellows. With a full fuel load the suspension needs to be adjusted to take account of the increased weight. This eventually results, in the latter stages of the race, in a higher than normal ride, lesser down force, ultimately making it difficult to control the car during high-speed cornering.
The result today was reminiscent of the days of 'procession'; Ferrari's leading, the rest following meekly. Today it was Vettel (Red Bull) leading and Alonso and Massa (Ferrari) following, until Vettel's car developed a technical problem. It was almost surreal to hear Vettel's plaintive shout to the pits on the radio, "Is there anything you can do to fix it?", whilst loosing nearly 2 seconds a lap with 15 to go, only to be told, rather tersely, "No. It is a mechanical fault."
Alonso and Massa moved into 1st and 2nd position and Hamilton (McLaren) barged through into 3rd with the finesse of a female shopper at the 'sales' homing in on a bargain. I'm afraid that that was the only bit of excitement during the whole race. Indeed, I got up and wandered off into the kitchen to put on a much needed cup of coffee at some point during the race - and didn't miss a thing!
One can only hope that things get better ...
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