The race was chiefly notable for the number of overtaking manoeuvres, often generated by the DRS zones, and mostly clean. I found it impossible to look away in case I missed something. There were few spills and thrills but I thoroughly enjoyed an impressive display of top driving.
It had been qualifying where the weather played its part and wet-dry-wet-dry conditions gave us an interesting grid. Lewis Hamiton put his Mercedes on pole with Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull alongside. For a while it looked as if Sahara Force India had pulled a clever stroke by hanging back when the other nine of the ten cars in qualifying three rushed out to get in a lap on slick tyres as rain began to fall. Rain began to fall more heavily, and they rushed back in to change to intermediate tyres, which left Paul de Resta on the track alone on the intermediates.
Sadly for Paul and for Sahara Force India, the track dried just enough to allow Rosberg, Webber, Vettel and, finally, Hamilton, to post faster times than his. Still, fifth on the grid was well earned.
In the race, Sebastian Vettel drove his Red Bull past Louis Hamilton at the second corner and looked comfortable at the front from then on, except where pit stops dictated. He was in a race of his own.
Behind him, Fernando Alonso had a great race, beginning ninth but finishing second with a gritty drive in a Ferrari with impressive top speed on the straights. Coupled with a typically dogged performance from a driver with a lot of smarts, the result was better than Ferrari might have dared hope for.
Jenson Button drove his improving McLaren to sixth on the grid and finished the race in the same position. It was a good drive but I would have liked to have seen a few showers to give him an opportunity to bring us one of those memorable performances in tricky conditions.
Jenson’s teammate Sergio Perez lost out in qualifying and found himself stuck in the midfield. A drive-through penalty for forcing Grosjean off the track prevented him from finishing higher than eleventh. The penalty was considered harsh by McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh but Sergio Perez has made few friends and attracted a lot of reprimands this season with his robust overtaking, so I didn’t think there was much cause for complaint. Grosjean has had to serve his own share of penalties in similar circumstances.
Paul di Resta was taken out by Pastor Maldonado’s Williams at the exit of the Busstop chicane when Pastor failed to see Paul’s car on his right and tried to turn into the pits. Pastor was able to continue after work on his car took place but received a ten-second stop-go penalty.
Kimi Raikkonen’s championship challenge was dented by a retirement with a brake issue, ending an impressive run of completed races.
The thing that worried me about this Grand Prix was protestors parachuting onto roofs and trying to involve themselves in the podium ceremony.
Good job they weren’t terrorists. By Sue Moorcroft