Lorenzo vs Flawed Humans We Love
As long as we're not talking about Michael Masi
I will be brief because my bed has been calling me for a while now. Waking up at 4:25am on a Monday is never nice. And if the "reward" for such sacrifice of sleep is the "spectacle" that FIA offered us...well, I might just stop writing. Because the whole F1 machine has been drifting out of control since Liberty Media, of which I own one symbolic share, ripped the envelope open and read Netflix's data regarding Drive To Survive. Dollar eyes! I should have maybe bought more shares...
Since then, F1 has had new fans. And Liberty Media keeps feeding them enhanced exciting content, thanks also to the sporting dictatorship of the activist Lewis Hamilton, the intriguing nonchalance of Max Verstappen, and their two team principals and their antics.
The latest product of this desperate quest for sugar loaded footage that keep newbies with the eyes on the screen, is the exciting yet stupidly dangerous Jeddah Corniche track. Monaco at an average speed of 250 km/h. With marshals that are unprepared. In a nation that, so far (they are trying to change things from within, but it is hard to separate necessary hypocrisies from genuine enlightenment), goes against all that #WeRaceAsOne means.
And we saw the results of having such a stupid (not even balls out, bravado, sprezzatura, cazzodurismo) racetrack: barriers that require, or maybe not, replacement after a crash that took Mick's breath away, after punishing Charles' mechanics on Friday night; red flags, garnished by the silly rule of the change tyre under suspended session; debris to be removed via race interruptions with virtual safety car. The best part, in their mind, was having three standing starts. And therefore, race weekends now will have two races, because the most interesting parts of a GP are the start and the end. Spit and stick a rolling eye emoji here.
Despite the new fans having the attention span of amoebas, there is hope. Max Verstappen was Driver of the Day. An empty award, rewarding his Saturday night when he was the romantic underdog one step away from perfection, and his Sunday where he played hard, with cynicism and sense of entitlement. Max lost his only match point. The end of this championship will be decided next week in Abu Dhabi. Another of those silly tracks that, at least, is boring as pretty on TV, and not as uselessly dangerous.
I should spend one word on the collision. Which one? You know which one. And no, not Mazepin's who I would have hugged and patted his head.
The one where Max is slowing down, perhaps too much, to let Lewis through. Slowing down just before the DRS detection point because I'm giving you back the position, but I won't give you also the DRS advantage. Slowing down by not leaving the racing line, because the track is dirty, and it would be masochism damaging my own tyres in the effort of giving up the position.
Lewis doesn't understand (!?), doesn't know (?!) what is happening, and hits Verstappen, damaging his front wing and the rival's tyre. Still, despite the appreciable effort of returning the position, and the appreciable misunderstanding and lack of communication between FIA and Mercedes that resulted in the failed attempt of restoring Hamilton in front of Verstappen, Max gets punished with a 5 seconds time penalty for leaving the track and not returning the position, plus 10 seconds for causing the collision.
Well, I'm still nursing a Belgian wound I got myself in 98, so I won't comment on it.
I would highlight Bottas instructed to slow Verstappen down, for a total of 3.5 seconds, to allow Mercedes to double stack Hamilton and the Finnish, and damage Verstappen's strategy. I would highlight the five seconds penalty for the "cut" of the first corner, that was judged as an illegal defence of the position (and the reason that I highlight this is that in Brazil that was blatantly a dirty move, while here it looked like genuine fighting on the limit). And I throw in Hakkinen and Coulthard that time their pit stops to help Villeneuve, and Villeneuve that gives up two places to them as a thank you gift! That's another wound, from Spain, in 97.
Well, I was less brief than I expected. But let me conclude that we must accept that drivers are flawed humans, that as children were ripped from childhood to pursue a dream, and we love them for this. But who directs these odd human beings during their races, cannot be flawed. Nor can be the rulebook. The whole F1 marketing machine is a castle on sand. For the foolish fans that will leave when the tide rises...