x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Ferrari's nightmare

The first night race in Formula One history proved to be a big hit with teams and spectators as the floodlit circuit produced another thrilling race.

The Ferrari chief engineers sit on the pitwall while Felipe Massa's race engineer, Rob Smedley, looks on.
The Ferrari chief engineers sit on the pitwall while Felipe Massa's race engineer, Rob Smedley, looks on.

The first night race in Formula One history proved to be a big hit with teams and spectators as the floodlit circuit produced another thrilling race. Up until lap 13 it had looked as if it would be a case of by how much Felipe Massa's Ferrari would win by as he appeared to have the pace to comfortably defeat championship rival Lewis Hamilton. But the arrival of the safety car for Nelson Piquet's crash changed not only the shape of the race, but also the championship as well.

Ferrari pressed the self destruct button in spectacular fashion. The mechanic operating the team's semi-automatic pit-stop system pressed the button for green early, causing Massa to pull away with the fuel rig still attached. One moment it was looking good for 10 points, next moment your in 13th place and no points. Even worse, Hamilton drove a mature race in his McLaren to finish third to stretch his lead to seven points

Hamilton had a good weekend, but Fernando Alonso had an even better one as he and Renault won their first race of the season. The Spaniard had a fair bit of luck, but he drove superbly he deserves his success. He has given 100 per cent throughout the year, and his public display of despair after his Renault broke down in qualifying, leaving him only 15th on the grid, showed how much he still wants success.His luck changed in the space of 24 hours and he certainly earned it.

gcaygill@thenational.ae