Only There For The Cameos

Saturday 22-May-2010 22:20

It's not just Schumi who's only there for the cameos - after Monaco, Andrew Davies reckons there are 22 bit-part players.

I saw the Monaco Grand Prix described this week as "the controversial Monaco Grand Prix". Which just about sums up where F1 is heading right now. After 77 laps of following each other, then following the Safety Car, then following each other, then following the Safety Car etc we had one moment of opportunism and brilliance which was sadly dashed by a rules muddle.

There was a controversy yes. But that doesn't exactly make it a controversial GP. It doesn't make it an interesting GP either.

The fact that we're hyping it up so much is a testament to where this season is heading. We've had six pole positions for Red Bull and we really should have had six 1-2 finishes for Red Bull. Only the vagaries of reliability and rainfall have got in the way.

The ominous thing now is that Christian Horner's team have converted the last two pole positions into wins and they have dominated on a whole variety of tracks. What is more, the opposition isn't getting any closer.

This week Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko said the only two people they feared now were Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. And the reason he said that is obvious. They are the two drivers who have the ability to perform beyond their car. Had Robert Kubica been installed in a Ferrari or a McLaren no doubt he'd have been included too.

Mercedes despite their driving talent don't quite have the car - and Button and Massa are seen as supporting players to their team-mates (whether they see it that way or not).

In Monaco, Vettel and Webber finally elbowed their way to the top of the drivers' table and that's where they're going to stay from now on. It makes for a very bleak prospect for those who'd like the F1 season to last more than about 13 races; the only area of doubt is who is going to come third and will they hang out the German or the Australian flag at the end of it.

Though Sebastian Vettel is everything you'd want from an F1 driver - fast, articulate, funny, daring, I've got to nail my colours to the mast and say if a Red Bull driver wins the drivers championship I hope it's going to be Mark Webber. Vettel's time will come.

Webbo does still have a few demons to banish, especially if he comes under the pressure of becoming the favourite for the title, but like Jenson Button last year - it's about time.

What we're left with - behind the Red Bull Show - is a few 2010 cameos. And that's what we got in Monaco. Most of us in the PF1 office thought that Michael Schumacher would have been on the podium by now, if not winning a race. But I can't see that he'll have been that bothered by failing to get the points for 6th place.

The world saw him nick the place of Alonso and the fact that the FIA are now moving to close off loopholes in the Safety Car procedure means that Michael got the moral victory.

What probably matters more is that in the race he got the jump on his team-mate and would probably have outqualified him as well if Rosberg hadn't been a bit rude in Q3. He's got a car that is more responsive and he's getting back in the zone.

The moment that his performances are on a par with Rosberg people will stop asking him if he's going to stick at it and he'll really be able to enjoy himself. But the bad news from Monaco was not that the stewards took 6th place away from him, it's that Red Bull have taken away the Championship and that everyone else is just there to provide the cameos. And Schumi will be happy to oblige.

Andrew Davies

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