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Ferrari first, Ferrari second, daylight third.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, thatís the way it is. Williams were very close but, Ralfís efforts notwithstanding, they had to be. If they couldnít challenge here then they couldnít challenge anywhere and Ferrari might then just as well get the Driverís, Qualipointís and Constructors Trophies tomorrow and we can call off the rest of the season. Only Williams have the package to take any fight to Ferrari, at least this lets them go down in a points decision, not a knockout.
Rubens finally triumphed, Ralf did a great job in scoring 2nd. After that it got interesting. Michael failed to pull his usual last minute save, but, given his speed during the earlier sessions, that was the car.
Michelin delivered the fight to Bridgestone, with honors pretty evenly split. Bibendumís Godís worked overtime again, keeping the rain away from the A1 Ring. Cosworth proved that it can make a half-decent engine, as long as itís in an Arrows of course.
Kimi finally broke his run of P5ís, but not quite the way he wanted to and Sauber absolutely blitzed the real race.
Eddie Irvine? Well, Iím not sure what Eddie will say now. First it was power, Arrows stuffed that theory, then it was aerodynamics, the A1 Ring has just taken that excuse away. Lauda and Irvine are both trying very hard (but not very successfully) to divert attention away from their own failures. Eddie suggested before the race that ď.. having a race halfway up a mountain in the middle of Austria is not my idea of Formula One. All Grand Prix should be sexy and held in sunny climates.Ē
With a contract that expires at the end of this year and performances like this one, Eddie can spend next year giving press conferences in sunny climates and comforting Mr Lauda on his ability to run a race team as well as he ran an airline. Thereís a thought, they could swap jobs, Eddie can criticise the other teams and Niki can still drive at least as quick as Eddie.
Alex, Alex, Alex. What does Minardi have to do? They gave you a whole day yesterday to practice qualifying runs while Mark did the real work and you still canít deliver. I know itís your Ringgitís and you can drive if you want to but you might want to consider a stunt double. We only need to find a look-alike, it doesnít matter if he canít drive, he might be able to learn and no one will notice till he does. That way you can still wear the pretty uniform and have your picture taken in the car and you just might start getting some positive press as well.
The Austrian GP 'Also Ran' Award.
So many choices, so few accolades.
Michael? Tempting though it is, no! After his performance this morning he was just unlucky this afternoon. Which at least shows the MS luck is not totally infallible. David or Eddie? Both worthy recipients, but they canít be too greedy. They both have one already, and they werenít the worst performers on the day anyway. Alex? Way too easy.
Open your uniform and check the ĎBest Beforeí label on your navel, Jacques. I think you might find that your Use By date has passed last century. Villeneuve was good, so was Alain Prost, Alan Jones and Nigel Mansell, none of these drive anymore. The BAR is, and always has been, a terrible car. With a Jordan comfortably in front of Jacques, itís not getting any better. But why is Panisí car better?
Jacques will not get a competitive drive again and his options are retirement or to continue to languish at the back of the field and get even richer while being able to blame a pig of a car for his performance, or lack of it. OK, perhaps the bank manager says itís not yet time to retire after all, but just maybe you could actually pretend to be trying and give Panis a run in the real races?
Or is that you wanted to add an Also Ran to your trophy case before you go? If so, I suppose we shall hear about your retirement very soon. Jacques Villeneuve, youíve got one now!
1. Mark Webber, 2. Ralf Schumacher, 3. Rubens Barrichello
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QualiPoints are awarded in the same way points are awarded to the top 6 drivers in a race. (i.e. 10, 6, 4, 3, 2,1)