Malaysia GP 2011 – Qualifying

BBC TV definitely learned some lessons and steadied their nerves for the Qualifying sessions of the Petronas Malaysian GP 2011. Why do events have such long names these days? I remember being upset when they turned the name of Lotus to Team Lotus and thinking it was terribly untraditional. Well, that was in the 1970s! Things have got a lot worse since then…

But what about the TV coverage, and the event itself? It started off pretty well really. Martin Brundle made me laugh out loud when he and David Coulthard were watching the mechanics tighten up the straps for one of the drivers;

You have to get yourself properly organised before they do that lot up!

He and DC were a lot more relaxed, and that joke early on seemed to relax DC who appears overwrought at the best of times. He’s just too neat and tidy somehow, isn’t he? Bit like his driving style before he retired. I do remember that time he gave the bird to Michael Schumacher though. If he ever made a T shirt with the finger on the front, you can bet on the back there’d be his ready apology for when you finished walking past him!

Talking of fingers, what on earth is this strange “finger trouble” that both Martin and DC seemed to think we know all about? Apparently it may (or may not) have had something to do with why Buemi’s Toro Rosso sidepanel flew off on the straight. Eddie Jordan either uses the same awful scriptwriter as last year’s inept commentator, Jonathan Legard, or has inherited that man’s unfortunate habit of making the stupidest of comments, such as

Mike Gascoigne (of Hispania) will have been encouraged by Buemi’s sidepod falling off.

Huh? How’d you work that out, Eddie? ¬†Count the diamonds on your shirt? Snazzy outfit by the way – and yes, I did mean snazzy in the 1970s way of describing it). Was it a matched pair set from Debenhams? What did you do with the tank top though?

Nah, just joking Eddie, it was well done. Compared to your past efforts. But why would Gascoigne be so pleased? Even without bodywork the Torro Rosso would probably still beat the HRTs, they were so slow! At least they got out for a few laps. You have to feel sorry for them though. They get so much TV coverage and hardly complete a lap before something else goes wrong. I’ve met Mike Gascoigne though, and if the team can get some finance together, I’m sure he can bring them on a long way, he’s a solid designer. Unlike Nick Wirth who seems to be more Harry Worth than worth anything much. The Virgin’s aren’t any longer their namesake, and have gone backwards compared to the Lotus team who are now just half a second off the pace. That must be really encouraging.

But what of the drivers further up the field? At the front it was a battle Royal, with first one, then another of the two leading teams and drivers in the hot seat. Pole went to Vettel finally, the race should be quite good tomorrow because he only beat Hamilton by 0.1 secs for that result – and that’s the closest Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (there’s one of those weighty names again!) has been to Red Bull for ages. It might give us a chance to see some interesting action early on in the race – at least, before the pit stops move everyone out of order and we, the viewers, are left in limbo for the rest of the race up until the final pit stops have been held as all the track positions are now shuffled depending on team strategy.

There’s a clear divide here though – the Top team is Red Bull; 2nd is McLaren; 3rd Ferrari; and 4th Renault. In the dry, that is. Who will react to rain the best? I guess we’ll never know from this GP because in Sepang, it never rains, it pours. Monsoon stye. And then the cars just start under the Safety Car, which is terribly boring. These drivers these days have things so easy!

Jaime Alguersuari came in for some special comments though. After Martin had mentioned his name – pronouncing it the Spanish way – he said “Oh! I thought you were just clearing your throat about there, Martin!” Miaow, David…! Martin later added one if his great sayings

He’s hugging a sweet line (around here) like his favourite granny!

I think Martin was impressed with Mr Alguersuari though. Just not as much as by Vettel and McLaren. I’m looking forward to the race later today… Fireworks – or a damp squib?

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