Formula 1 is back this weekend as the fun and games comes to Europe and the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona after a three week absence following the Bahrain Grand Prix. Whilst it hasn’t perhaps started off with the bang that was last year, the action has been simmering just nicely to really take off over the next few races, and the level of intrigue remains high. So it is perhaps worthwhile recapping what has passed over the course of the first four races.
This is the moment which could ruin Sebastian Vettel’s hat-trick of Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship crowns.
Somewhat overlooked due to the Olympic Games, the Hungarian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton record his second victory of the season to reignite his title bid, but the result observers should have been more wary of was the second place of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen’s second place was his fifth podium of the season and although a win still eludes the Iceman (and Lotus), he has only failed to score points on one occasion this season - a record eclipsed only by championship leader Fernando Alonso. What’s more impressive about Raikkonen’s performance at Hungary is that he finished just over a second behind Hamilton, with the victor even admitting that had the race been at a circuit where there are more overtaking opportunities, he would have struggled to keep the blistering pace of the Lotus at bay.
It really has been a vintage summer of sport. The superb entertainment offered by the 2012 European Championships, England notwithstanding, Andy Murray reaching the Wimbledon final and Bradley Wiggins‘ dominance of the Tour de France will live long in the memory of sports fans everywhere.
Not only this, but arguably the most prestigious, and potentially exhilarating sporting event of the summer, is yet to even begin. It is the London 2012 Olympic Games to which that reference pertains, which unofficially begin tonight (with Women’s Football group games) and have already been hitting the headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
Away from transport dilemmas, the issue of packing an extra 10 million visitors into London and the G4S debacle, the Olympic Games celebrate the greatest sporting talents of athletes from across the world. If you claim to be a sports fan, yet this somehow fails to excite you, may I suggest a quick examination of your pulse.
A number – a small number, perhaps, but a number nonetheless – of interesting quotes emerged from the second English Formula One Teams Association Fans’ Forum. The forum, held Tuesday at the Williams GP base in Grove, Oxfordshire, allowed F1 fans from around the country to pose questions to team chiefs Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren) and Bob Fearnley (deputy team chief, Force India) in a 45-minute question-and-answer session.
The session, which took place after an autograph session with Pastor Maldonado and an hour or so looking around the Williams GP museum, featured questions from a variety of different fans with, it should be said, differing levels of F1 understanding and vocabulary (one nigh-incoherent individual rambled on for almost two minutes without posing a question). TAP, as you would expect, had a few questions lined up, but we never got near the microphone…
Benson acknowledges that former F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is frustrated with the failure of his team to provide him with a World Championship-winning car since he took his maiden title in 2008.
With Hamilton out of contract at McLaren at the end of this season and hungry for a second title, Benson points out that he has the option to switch teams, as a number of seats are expected to become available at the sharp end of the grid.