Finally after all the talk the protests and the politics we got some track action today.
It was very weird starting the first session at 12-30pm and the second one at 4-30pm, basically two and a half hours later than normal. I got to the track for 8-45 am and there was hardly anyone here! Many of the teams were saving money on catering by taking advantage of the breakfast included at the hotel.
By the time the second session was underway the shadows were lengthening and all the drivers commented on how hard it was to see in certain places. The sun is right in their eyes and Jenson Button, for example, was complaining that he could not see the display on the steering wheel.
If there are no hold ups or safety cars, the race will finish around 6-30pm here, by which time the sun is very low in the sky and the temperatures are dropping. It’s quite challenging for the drivers. If we do have delays then we could be cutting it fine on light.
If we are to have an incident it may come at the start. We are likely to have the seven cars using KERS in the midfield pack on the grid. Ferrari, McLaren and BMW’s Nick Heidfeld will use the system, which will give a 80hp boost of power once the cars have reached 100km/h. So there will be quite a big speed differential with the non-KERS cars in front on the short run to turn one. I’m betting that someone leaves one of these new wide front wings behind in Turn 1. In recent years we have had quite a few large shunts there anyway.
The upside of the later start is that the cars look great on TV in the yellowey light.
I’ve had some comments here about Brawn’s pace, accusing me of adding to the hype over the team. They have a massively fast car, they showed that in Barcelona and I was there to see it. I posted on it at the time.
Their mistake was to go to fast at that test. They reined themselves in at the next test in Jerez, not showing their full pace and if I were them I would not show all that they have here this weekend. They don’t need to and it would aggravate the situation after the protest over the diffuser. They can win on Sunday with something to spare and then move on to the next event.
I was interested to hear from Fernando Alonso this evening that he is using the KERS button on six or seven occasions on the lap, coming out of corners mainly. He aid that in the race it will be used more on the straight and to line up an overtake. Lewis Hamilton agreed with this analysis. He is using short bursts of a second at a time.
Both drivers said that they will not touch the moveable front wing flap at any point in the race.
I was interested to see the body language between the pair at the end of the press conference. As they got up from their seats, Lewis asked Fernando a question and Fernando put his arm around Lewis’ shoulder to listen and respond. They did not look like the enemies we take them to be. It’s a relationship which has evolved a bit from the dark days of 2007.