Ferrari’s wounds were self inflicted. Truth be told, the prancing horse did not succumb to Mercedes’ pace. When both driver (Vettel) and machine were in sync fierce battles were evident – Belgium. On rare occasions the Ferrari was found wanting – the Italian GP and even then Hamilton held a microscopic lead.
Waterloo for Vettel and his world championship bid appeared at and remained after the Singapore GP. A gaggle of events pronounced a brutal loss on the Maranello camp. A race which should have been littered with serenity morphed into catastrophe. And the downward trajectory, like a vulture after spotting carrion, maintained a visible presence. Singapore – Strike one!
Would it be fair to say Vettel’s aggression in Singapore cost him the title?
In Malaysia Vettel hoped that he was earmarked for a full recovery. It was not meant to be. Mechanical gremlins assumed prominence and the ‘big driver’ was flung to the back of the pack! Valiantly he fought but the podium sidestepped him – P4! Malaysia – Strike two!
When is a spark plug the most important component on a multi million dollar F1 machine? When it fails! This was the horrifying lesson Ferrari learnt in Japan. A plug which knew no spark mauled Vettel. He played a spectator’s role in the Japanese GP. Japan – Strike three!
Reality is no TV show. It is neither scripted nor arranged. Vettel and Ferrari had Hamilton and Mercedes on the ropes and they were searching for the knockout punch. But, Hamilton and Mercedes weathered the onslaught and when it mattered most Hamilton’s sublime skills rose to the fore.
Mercedes’ reliability shone and the combination interspersed with several liters of luck allowed Hamilton’s fingers to touch, ever so lightly, the World Champion’s trophy
With three strikes Ferrari is definitely out. Hamilton, despite his outward, focused and composed poise, is at the massage parlour relaxing with a 59 points margin. There are still 100 points on the table – yes. But with Hamilton and Mercedes in their current mode divine intervention would be required to distort the imminent.
There are several permutations but this is a fact – if Hamilton scores 16 points more than Vettel in this weekend’s encounter the title is his!
Will Hamilton secure the title at the US GP?
The US GP is this weekend!
Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer