You may think you know how the opening Grand Prix of the Formula One season ended, but in actual fact, you might not know it at all. Watching the race itself (though it was quite an exciting race) is only half the story.
If you’d like to know more, follow the jump.
If you watched the race, you saw the spectacular shmozzle that took place when Robert Kubica tried to overtake an already-struggling Sebastian Vettel. If you’re familiar with the current rules and regs, you’ll know that each car must make use of both tire compounds during each race, with the only exception being if wet or intermediate tires are pulled into use due to track conditions. Kubica was on the harder of the two soft tire compounds, and Vettel was on the softer—notorious already amongst the paddock for its immense propensity for graining, and especially for offering up trouble under braking. There were only a few laps left to go, and yet Kubica forced the issue—which in itself isn’t a problem, except that there was nowhere else for Vettel to go except completely off.
While Vettel admits he could have chosen better, in that exact moment and with those exact circumstances, there really was nothing else he could have done. As a result, both Vettel and Kubica ended a ridiculously exciting battle for second, and the FIA penalized Vettel and the Red Bull Team harshly after the race. What of Robert Kubica, you ask? Not even a slap on the wrist. (Why was Red Bull Racing penalized? Because Vettel proved the new car can, in fact, race on three wheels before he pulled it into the pits after the collision—something the FIA seemed to have no trouble allowing in seasons past when it was a Ferrari piloted by Michael Schumacher.)
Vettel clearly wasn’t blameless, a fact he’s acknowledged. But why no punishment for Kubica? The world may never know.
Meanwhile, third place was also decided after the race, as Jarno Trulli was given a retroactive 10-second stop/go penalty due to regaining his position ahead of Lewis Hamilton after he spun off while the safety car was out following the Vettel/Kubica incident at the end of the race.
[Photo: GEPA pictures/Mathias Kniepeiss]