Australia 2006: Driver of the day

Published April 2, 2006

I wanted to write this after we finished watching the race live. Mostly to prove that I was up in time to watch it (5am and I didn’t fall asleep two seconds before the start this time - go me!), and also because I like to write about the driver of the day when the race is fresh in my mind. But the problem with the race this time round was that it was so busy and there were so many incidents that I couldn’t really concentrate on who was going where and who deserved the accolade.

So, we went to sleep for a few hours and were up in time to watch the race re-run at midday. And this time round, I know who’s walking away as my Driver Of The Day.

Jenson had so many hopes pinned on him, but I think deep down we all knew it was never going to happen. He is British, after all, and we Brits never win anything. Holding his position during the first lap was a piece of fantastic driving, and if he’d had the right equipment under him, he could have had his first win under his belt. But the restarts were the killer, and he couldn’t hold it together long enough to hold back Raikkonen and crucially, Alonso.

Alonso took his second victory of the season, and clinched his 28 points out of a possible 30. There is no stopping the man. If he was driving a red Ferrari shaped car, we would be cursing and crying that he’s running away with the competition. But as he is in a Renault, a genuinely nice guy and a great driver, we don’t mind so much. But the race was too easy for him, and he doesn’t deserve Driver of the Day status. Raikkonen was the same, a couple of overtaking moves and he came second.

Martin Brundle picked Ralf as the driver of the day, but I do believe that a lot of his final position was luck and not necessarily skill. So, not him. My final decision is Fisichella.

I do not like Fisichella, but I think he coped with the stall at the start and the subsequent need to race through the field like a pro. And the fact that he ended up in a points scoring position is testament enough, let alone how far up the scoring board he was. Plus, the pressure the team were putting him under, the instructions over the radio to be faster, be better, get a move on, was not pretty, and I think he handled it admirably.

Now I’m going back to bed.

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