How can it all go so wrong so fast? Just ask Felipe Massa, who once again found himself in a pickle during the humid Singapore night.
Of course, the first night race in the history of F1 went off without a hitch, which is a good thing, and the night had nothing to do with the flubs that happened around the track. This was undoubtedly a much better race than the Valencia race, but it didn’t look that way early on.
From the start, Felipe was off like a scalded cat. He took off from pole and had a big lead heading into his first pit stop window. But then Mr. Nelson “don’t call me junior” Piquet had to go and throw his car into the side of a wall. I didn’t think that one man could change the landscape of the race so massively, but he did, and I think that he should not be driving in F1 next season. Not only is he a bad driver (too slow and too inconsistent), but he is a bad spokesman. It seems like he is never happy (maybe he knows his job is on the line – as it should be) and that he doesn’t care on top of that. Peter Windsor interviewed him before the race, and he was colder than Kimi in a blizzard. Although he did change the outcome of the race and ended up changing the way the race was run, he shouldn’t have, because then Massa would have won.
How much fun would it have been if Massa had won? Right now, Lewis Hamilton and he would be tied in the standings with three races left. Wouldn’t that be more fun to watch than Lewis romp away with the title? Even I, devoted Ferrari fan as I am, would like to see that more than a runaway. Even when Michael was dominating it still would have been fun to see him duke it out, but it isn’t his fault that the competition couldn’t come close to touching him. Unfortunately, I think that this race is the first in a line of “wins” for Hamilton, eventually leading to a World Title.
As for Massa, his race took a turn for the very worst, when Nelson crashed. With Jr. in the wall, all of the other runners were right in line to take their first pit stop. But that can’t happen when the safety car is deployed, which is exactly what took place. Both Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica took 10 second penalties for having to refuel while under the safety car period. But back to my man Felipe. Boy did he or the team screw up royally. Right before he was about to be released, and before the fuel hose had been disconnected, the light on their pit lane lollipop turned green, and he left off the clutch. This resulted in him driving forward, ripping the fuel hose off the fuel tank and knocking a bunch of his crew over. He streamed into the pit lane, with the hose still attached, right in front of another car. But he stopped at the end of the pit lane to wait for his team to come and pull the hose out – which they eventually did, but by then it was too late. He went from first to last on the error of the team. Plus, they couldn’t come to rescue him in a hurry because they had to stack the pits after Jr’s crash. The nozzle had been bent so much that it took four or five men to even pry it off. But Massa kept his engine running and he was on his way.
The fact that the engine actually lasted the entire distance is a feat in itself, but it did Massa no good in the championship standings and he is now seven points behind Hamilton. And what about Hamilton? Well, I stated a couple of weeks ago that his nickname should be “Lucky” and then I retracted it. I now will retract my retraction and rename him Lucky. He is always in the right place at the right time and never gets into any trouble. How I wish he would, but there are three races left (the last two of which he screwed up in last year – China and Brazil).
But what about that other prancing horse I hear you asking. Well, Kimi started well, fell back and then got held up after Massa’s pit stop. Then he ended up in third before the final pit stop and afterward fell back to eighth or ninth. He did end up with the fast lap of the race, setting a record, but also ended up running into a wall to end his race. So all in all, a complete failure. The fast lap does nothing for the team and now they have now slipped back to second place in the Constructor’s Championship.
The surprise winner of this first night race was Fernando Alonso in the Renault. Second was Nico Rosberg and third was Lucky Lewis. With this win, Alonso will probably have to stay at Renault for next season, but that was most likely a moot point already.
All in all though, the atmosphere and the look of the cars under the lights was a success. It certainly beats Valencia – I hope that race goes away – and I this is one thing that I would like to see happen again, the night racing thing, but I still like old tracks. Will the Ferrari’s get back on track before the years end? I hope so. Will Hamilton keep a cool head and win the championship? Most likely. Either way, this year has been hard fought and will continue to be so until the season finally in Brazil.