Another Grand Prix and that nagging feeling is that Lewis Hamilton is definitely going to retain his title and become a three-time champion. Going into this race, Hamilton leads Rosberg by 48 points and just five races to go with not a sign of any double points on offer.
This weekend the Grand Prix circuit moves to Russia for a race that seems to be more about money than the quality of its track. Little Bernie couldn’t really turn down all of Putin’s cash could he? We’re getting to that stage of the year when the events off the track are probably going to be more interesting than what happens on it.
Back in the 1980s we had ‘The Boys from the Blackstuff’ with Yosser Hughes forever asking ‘Gizza Job.’ The modern day equivalent seems to be Red Bull continually asking “Gizza Engine.” Bernie reckons the problem is being sorted.
Qualifying is all over and all those claims that Mercedes might struggle here as they did in Singapore have gone flying out the window. Rosberg on pole with Hamilton in second and they finished half a second ahead of Valtteri Bottas. (Williams) in third. Vettel finished fourth just breaking the 1 min 38 seconds mark with his team mate Raikkonen 0.4 seconds behind him.
It’s all gearing towards another Mercedes 1-2 on Sunday and that definitely isn’t exciting Eddie Irvine. He declared “it’s not good for us” and reckons that the television cameras will be more focused on what’s happening down the field because that’s where all the action will be. That’s not exactly ideal is it? TV presenters should be geeing us up telling us just how exciting the race is going to be tomorrow not slamming it.
The fact that betting for the race is 10-11 on Hamilton, 11-10 for Rosberg and then 14-1 bar says it all.
OK this season we have had a few races where Mercedes haven’t been dominant, but they are in the minority. Is this good for F1? This will be the second year in a row that Mercedes have ran away with the constructors’ title and a third will have even more fans drifting away from the sport.
It’s a bit like a football team being really dominant while their rivals don’t just lag behind but spend most of their time in crisis. They have to spend too much time trying to sort their own affairs out to mount a title challenge.
Hamilton won the inaugural race on this circuit last year leading throughout despite starting second. He didn’t have the easiest of times during qualifying though. Afterwards he commented: “Difficult weekend for everyone. Nico did a great job in his lap. I wasn’t quite perfectly happy with the balance I had and this is not such a bad race for (starting from) P2.”
He may well still win on Sunday but a second place finish behind Rosberg and well clear of the rest won’t hurt his title hopes. Hopefully another Hamilton triumph won’t see him win BBC Sports Personality of the Year again, perhaps the Mercedes engineers can get some votes this time.