When I heard that Schumacher set the fastest times in free practice two in China, a sense of relief rushed over me. Not only did it look like Schumacher, and Mercedes, were on the up again, but, for me a least, it really put the nail in the coffin for Red Bull’s dominance seen over the past two years.
Then when it came to qualifying, once again, Mercedes were at the top of the tree, with Schumacher in second and Nico Rosberg in the number one spot for his first ever pole position.
But when the race came along, it all seemed a bit too boring. Apart from Schumacher’s retirement when the pit crew didn’t put a wheel on properly, it was all very dull – I’d go so far as to say there’s more action in a bowls match by the seafront.
Things changed for the better on lap 45, though. Everyone wanted to kill each other, and that really is no word of a lie. Every car was wheel to wheel, and there were around 10 cars fighting for second position. Mark Webber even took off he was so excited.
After the race was won by Nico though, I stole the TV remote to flick to the Donnington rounds of the British Touring Car championship, and now I realise that, in terms excitingness, BTCC makes F1 look like the International Paint Drying Championships.
Coverage starts at 11 am, ends at 6pm, and in between you get the Renault Clio Cup, Porsche Cup, Ginetta Juniors, the Ginetta Championship, and of course three races of BTCC. Every single race had wheel to wheel action all the time, every race had constant bumper-to-bumper action, every race had a massive shunt and a wheel or body panel fly off, and every single driver went at it like their lives depended on it.
In the final race, Jason Plato came from seventeenth position all the way to second, albeit very controversially. And to think he’s driving a British car.
There is a point to be made here: BTCC is, pound for pound, more exciting than F1, it’s more down to earth, cheaper to go and see, and the field is made up of British drivers. Yes, it doesn’t have the glamour (less steak in a red wine reduction, more steak, chips and maybe a hair or two) but look at the racing!
If I were you, when the teams of both disciplines head to Goodwood in the Summer, go and look around the BTCC cars and chat to the drivers, because I can guarantee you won’t get within ten metres of the F1 cars, and as we now know, they’re less exciting.