The 2017 season despite still being in its infancy, is rapidly developing into the cataclysm that F1 fans have craved for years. We are in an era when there are legitimate contenders, for all of the silverware, from different teams.
No foregone conclusion can be arrived at, at the various rounds and when all the facts are considered, scrumptious treats await fans at each magnificent destination that the F1 grand tour visits.
One such treat was served in Azerbaijan on Sunday. A lot will be said about the cache of racing jewels that Azerbaijan disclosed, but later. Lewis Hamilton is a playboy with rock star tendencies when he is away from the track, but when he dons a racing suit, the transformation manifests itself in the majestic display he unleashes when he is in attack mode.
He is a phenom. And he proved it again during qualifying – P1 – while his main threat and the current points leader, Vettel – P4.
In a race punctuated with safety car intrusions, Hamilton held the lead without harassment, but Vettel was in an attack spot – P2. During the second safety car parade, the multiple world champion Vettel grew horns and fell into a bout of utter insanity. Hamilton, for reasons telemetry or he can explain, was rather slow exiting a corner.
Vettel, possibly caught napping, kicked the Mercedes in the rear. Fury was conceived immediately. Scarlet red mushroomed into roaring rage and the expected maturity, that a many times World Champion should display, like a beast being pursued, fled!
Vettel, obviously of the view that Hamilton’s slow exit was deliberate and possibly malicious, drove beside the Mercedes and in Hollywood car-chase-scene-style rammed the Mercedes!
The race was red flagged a lap later which allowed both machines to be repaired. When the battle resumed, both machines held station P1 – P2 but more drama was moments away! Hamilton’s headrest refused to play by the rules and was not willing to remain planted. Hamilton tried to address its disobedience, but to no avail – he was forced to pit – Vettel – P1!
Vettel’s gift was quickly recalled when he was slapped with a 10 seconds penalty for what I refer to as gross stupidity! And to think that he was questioning the justification for the penalty!
All things being equal, Vettel, courtesy of Hamilton’s dislodged headrest, would have been able to skip, chat and dance his way to the podium celebrations at P1 and maintain a significant points margin over Hamilton. After serving the penalty, he exited the pits ahead of a complaining Hamilton. The chase for victory was over however and they crossed the line P4 and P5.
Message to Vettel – The race is not for the stupid!
Will the points missed in Azerbaijan return to haunt Vettel? I hope so!
Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer