Before the Indy Cars started a boring race that ended spectacularly (you’ll see in the post after this), Formula 1 put on a show in Sebastien Vettel’s hometown of Hockenheim, Germany which temporarily re-named “Vettelheim” in honor of Sebastien Vettel. The weekend started off dramatically with many drivers crashing hard during a rainy practice on Friday and Sebastien Vettel edging out Fernando Alonso for pole position by just .002 of a second at the end of Q3 in qualifying on Saturday. To make things even more dramatic for Sebastien, Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa qualified in 3rd position. This meant Red Bull’s young ace would have to start the race with two angry Ferrari’s right behind him.
It was Ferrari’s performance in qualifying that showed the world that they were definitely not going to lay down and let Red Bull or McLaren take away a championship which they feel is still within their reach. Despite having only one win so far this season (with Fernando Alonso taking the win at the first race in Bahrain) Ferrari strongly believes they have a fighting chance at the driver’s championship.
As the lights went out to signal the start of the race Sebastien tried to pull a classic Schumacher move and slice in front of Fernando Alosno but he failed miserably as both Felipe and Fernando split him and lead the pack 1-2 into turn 1. Felipe was actually the biggest benefactor from Sebastien’s blunder as he took first place with Fernando ducking in behind him. However, things didn’t stay quite in this order for the whole race.
At around lap 19 of the race as Felipe and Fernando weaved through slower traffic Fernando attempted a few moves to pass his teammate but both tries were expertly shut down by Massa. It was at this point (lap 22) that Fernando got on the radio and expressed his frustration stating that “this is ridiculous” expressing that he has a faster pace than Felipe and should be let by. Now, Ferrari can’t simply tell Felipe to “let Fernando pass you” because that would be considered “team orders” which are against the rules in F1. Instead the team got on the radio to Felipe and said something to the effect of “Fernando has a much faster pace than you, please respond if you understand this message.” Felipe did not respond but he did eventually and blatantly let Fernando pass him to take first place.
The race ended with a 1-2 finish by Ferrari with Fernando Alonso taking first and his bitter teammate Felipe Massa taking second while Sebastien Vettel landed third place.
When F1 officials learned of the radio transmission between the Ferrari pit and Felipe Massa they were not happy. They allowed Fernando Alonso to keep his victory however, Ferrari was fined $100k for violation of the “no team orders” rule. They were also submitted to the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) for further possible penalties. That is certainly a tough break for Ferrari who fought valiantly to get a much needed win.
[Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]