As the old saying goes, if you tangle with an HRT you’ll end up looking like a Marussia.
I have nothing but respect for Sebastian Vettel’s talent and achievements, but you have to wonder at the wisdom of him engaging in verbal jousting with Narain Karthikeyan. Vettel might consider the Indian make-weight to be a “cucumber” following their Malaysian contretemps, but the World Champion is beginning to look like a prize turnip.
For the leading drivers, the likes of HRT are usually of no consequence, they are in a different race, if you could even call it that. They are just the blur that you whiz past against a background of waved blue flags. However, where the back and the front of the grid do come together, literally, history usually suggests that the best advice for the leading driver is to walk away and preserve his dignity.
Here are some “don’ts” for drivers at the sharp end who find themselves blunted by a slow coach:
Don’t threaten to end the other driver’s career. Ron Dennis and Norbert Haug didn’t follow this advice after Enrique Bernoldi’s Arrows legitimately held up David Coulthard’s McLaren for lap after lap in the 2001 Monaco GP. If a driver is no good he’ll disappear soon enough with no outside assistance from the likes of Dennis or Hough. If he is any good he might just come back to bite you.
Don’t gesture to show your displeasure. Andrea De Cesaris was leading the Long Beach GP in 1982 when he was held up by Raul Boesel’s March. In the time it took him to shake his fist he missed a gear and Niki Lauda’s McLaren slipped past to win the race.
Don’t bring photographic proof of the other driver’s guilt to the next race. Jarno Trulli did this following his crash with Adrian Sutil at the Spanish GP in 2009, achieving nothing but a big bill from the photo developers.
Finally, and most importantly, don’t leap out of your car and start trying to perform prostate surgery on the other driver using your racing boots. It certainly didn’t add much to the prestige of his role as World Champion when Nelson Piquet set about the hapless Eliseo Salazar when a failed attempt to lap the Chilean at the 1982 German GP resulted in both cars ending up in the tyre wall.
It’s much better to follow the example of Jenson Button, who owned up to his own crash with Karthikeyan, or Ayrton Senna. At the Italian Grand prix in 1988, McLaren’s perfect record of victories was destroyed when the Brazilian tripped over one-hit blunder Jean-Louis Schlesser’s Williams. After the race, when a tearful Schlesser apologised, Senna reportedly accepted it with good grace, although I doubt that Ron Dennis was quite so sanguine.
FORMULA ONE MUM