As McLaren team principal Martin Witmarsh observed, “before Ferrari’s win two weeks ago and ours today [at the German Grand Prix], everyone was talking about a runaway championship.” Martin Whitmarsh: McLaren and Ferrari can put brakes on Red Bulls | The Guardian. BBC Formula One commentator Martin Brundle now says the F1 “tide” is turning towards Ferrari and McLaren.
Red Bull has won one of the last four races. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is the highest points scorer of the last three races. World championship leader Sebastian Vettel has not had a pole position or win in the past two races, and on Sunday finished off the podium for the first time in 13 races.
In a German Grand Prix with 10 lead changes, it was most significant that in clear air and with track position, Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber simply could not pull a big enough gap to ace the race victory over Lewis Hamilton and Alonso through the second pit stops.
He’s right, obviously. Yet that’s a common inflection point in many Formula One seasons. In 2009, the most recent example, Brawn GP stormed to a massive lead with their innovative and controversial “double diffuser.” In the season’s second half, the rest of the field caught up and eventual World Champion Jenson Button managed just a handful of points. Ditto all the way back to Lotus with ground effects in 1978-79.
From our perspective, the biggest development at the Nürburgring was that McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton — who had shown a remarkable degree of petulance and annoyance over the past month — finally let his driving do the talking. The man is a very talented driver. And much more likable when he trades frustration for determination.