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Vettel Let Down By Renault Engine, Americans Not Surprised

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On: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:46PM | By: John Welch

Vettel Let Down By Renault Engine, Americans Not Surprised

Fernando Alonso is a hell of a driver. Everbody knows that. Sebastian Vettel is also a hell of a driver. Together, it appears they will out-right dominate the 2010 F1 Championship. Just my opinion, but I doubt I'm the only one who thinks so.

Now then, that being said, which car is better, the Red Bull RB6 or the Ferrari F10? Difficult to tell. In case you missed it (which I can't understand; what could possibly be better than F1 at 7:30 Sunday morning?! What, sleep??! Sleep when you're dead, Loser!) Sebastian Vettel absolutely dominated the opening stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix, first race of the 2010 Championship. Dominated. Then, as the laps wound down (49 laps this year, compared to last year's 56; more on that later) Vettel's Renault-powered land-missile began to lose time to the pursuing Alonso. Huge, fatty chunks of time. Alonso gained a full five seconds on one lap. Not good for Vettel or Red Bull. Eventually Alonso executed the finisher, drafting up to and then slicing around Vettel as if he were standing still. This lead to the first 1-2 finish for Ferrari in the opening race of season since 2004. Fillipe Massa made short work of Vettel, who also fell to Lewis Hamilton's McLaren before ending the race an embarrassing fourth position. So, "Whaa Happund?!"

Other topics discussed inside: Shui's return, the new teams, and my unholy disappointment in USF1 . . .

There was so much speculation and puffery and posturing leading up to the F1 season that almost anything could have happened and it wouldn't have been a surprise. What did happen: Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull leading every lap until the RB6's Renault V8 started breaking down- making Vettel easy meat for Fenando Alsonso- was probably the least surprising thing possible. Ferrari captured first and second place, a triumphant return for Fillipe Massa after his season-ending accident last year. Fillipe, the 'Shopper salutes you!

So, Ferrari won, the return of Micheal Shucmacher netted a sixth place finish. Last year's champ, Jenson Button, finished ninth. All in all, a fairly uneventful race. No large crashes, just a few spin-outs and one nose-destroying trip over the bumps in the new section of the Bahrain circuit. That was Karun Chandhok, in his spanking new HRT.

A few observations: Neither Virgin Racing VR-01 was able to complete the race. The VR cars have had some sort of mechanical issue every time they have run, be it practice, qualifying or racing. The car was designed by Nick Wirth (you may remember the Acura prototypes of the last few years? Also designed by Mr. Wirth), and he is just certain that he can get this car functional without any wind tunnel testing. Which is fine , for downforce-related reasons, but it doesn't seem like the car is generating enough cooling air near the back of the engine. Timo Glock suffered a tranny failure, certainly linked to an over-heating issue. It will be interesting to see if Virgin Racing is able to stay away from wind tunnels all season.

Though I am upset about the absence of USF1, it is clear, after the first race, that they had no chance. The quickest new team is still off by an eternal five to nine seconds, and some things about the design of the USF1 Type One seem just plain pedestrian now that we have seen cars like Ferrari and McLaren in action. Compared with the Ferrari the Lotus looks like a bread-truck; imagine the slab-sided Type One trying to compete aerodynamically. It would be a joke. Us 'Murriken race fans still have egg on our faces, but at least USF1 didn't put a rolling road-block like the HRT car on the track, endangering other drivers . . . That's such BS, I'm so pissed about the failure of USF1 I could effing scream! You jerks! Mr. Hurley, could you please eff right off? And YOU, Ken Anderson, howabout a little more secrecy regarding all of the NOTHING you have been up to . . . uuhhhhggg . . . So, great race, America blows it again, waah hooo. See you in Sebring, where the racing is more important than the politics!

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