As Martin Brundle said: “Lewis Hamilton has driven a great race, but Jenson was just that little bit better”. Having only qualified fifth Button made the call to stay out on slicks early in the race when much of the rest of the grid pitted for intermediates. It was this that put him right behind Rosberg who he then passed a few laps later.
Rain came again later in the race, but this time there was no question whether or not intermediates were needed. From then on Jenson confirmed how good he is in these tricky conditions and nursed his car, and most importantly his tyres, to the flag to record his second win of the season.
It really was a case of nursing the tyres as by the end of the race almost everyone’s intermediates looked like slicks. Add to this the fact that it started raining again a few laps from the end and it was quite astonishing that (almost) everyone managed to stay on the Tarmac.
This is what we’ve all been waiting for: a race where there are changeable conditions, drivers having to make quick, race–making decisions and most importantly, being able to see how hard these cars are to control. Too often recently you can look at a Grand Prix car and be non-plussed about how difficult they are to drive. But with damp track conditions and some old tyres… what a spectacle it is.
It’s doubtful that the Red Bull team is feeling so upbeat about the race, however. Having locked out the front row in qualifying, neither driver made the right choice at the right time when it came to tyres and neither car looked like it could seriously challenge those ahead of it. Vettel finishing sixth and Webber down in eighth will leave Christian Horner with plenty to think about.
Alonso had a typically feisty race, overtaking his team-mate down the pit access road on the way to fourth. He served a drive through penalty for jumping the start and pitted a further four times and still managed to finish within spitting distance of the podium. It was another great drive by the Spaniard.
Schumacher had another lacklustre race, which was only highlighted further by the fact that Rosberg finished on the podium. The seven-time world champion didn’t seem to have any traction exiting corners and was, at times, a moving chicane. Don’t write him off yet though as once he gets the car sorted he’ll be making his team-mate’s life a little bit harder.
So another Grand Prix, and what a great one it was. Did we complain a little early at the beginning of the season about the quality of the spectacle? Perhaps, but don’t expect every race to have quite so much action. Unless of course they implement the ‘sprinkler system’…