Marino Grand Prix, 1997
Frentzen: Oh, what joy, what bliss. He did it.
All on his own. Didnt put a foot wrong. Lovely.
Frank almost looked happy. (jump to Losers)
Great race, took it right up to them, stayed with
them, gave Heinz-Harald a fantastic scare on the last
lap. The Ferrari is finally coming good and doing the
business for which it is intended making
Michael Schumacher look good. Jean Todt is finally
seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
It just gets better and better. Eddie ran a good
race, staying out of trouble and giving the tifosi
some fun after they watched the number 5 Ferrari
pass. His duel with Fisichella was a classic bout and
worth the air time it got.
Damon Hill: For
stuffing it up Shinji Nakanos behind. Hill has
always been diplomatic to the point of boredom but
this time, as when Taki Inoue bothered him at Monza
in 95, he let rip. He was a damnably cranky
man, and rightly so. TWRs reputation must be in
tatters and this is Hills first (public)
dummy-spit, remarkable for the controlled aggression
with which it was delivered. Shinji, while being a
quiet fellow, was in his way, so Damon gave him a
wake-up call and it ended in tears. My first reaction
was that of temporary brain fade, but I think Damon
tried to avoid him, but then thought, "What the
hell, Im going nowhere." Heres why
he was a winner: he was completely unrepentant. Well
done, Damon, those pesky backmarkers wont get
in your way again, and Tom definitely got the
message, I would venture to say.
Fisichella: For willing to stay behind an
expiring Mercedes-Benz and brilliantly jumping out of
the way when she finally blew. He deserved a podium
after Ralfs shenanigans in Argentina, but he
still got a good result and some airtime for the
Peugeot engines. Keep praying, Eddie, keep praying.
What a champion. He was never very far away from the
action and it was a crying shame when the thing let
go. Sigh. Poor old Johnny. He didnt even bother
to trudge back to the pits to be molested by ITV (see
losers). Not a centenary GP to remember.
Us: When are
ITV going to get it right? They were only an hour and
a half from home and they still couldnt get it
right. And Australians had to put up with Dazza and
Alan hopelessly trying to pad the empty bits. They
did their best, but its hard when youre
sitting in a studio ten thousand miles away. At least
we got to hear Damon chucking a tanty.
Hoo-boy, what a mess. Most specifically, that poor
bastard who designed the throttle actuator. Im
way out of line, here, but hey, guys, what about
designing a new one. Hmmm? Or using last
years? Or getting your crap together and
sorting yourselves out?
Pedro Diniz and his
merry band of difficult backmarkers: Get out of
the way, you people. Why is Imola a place where
people insist on getting in the way? Its very
simple. Ferraris, Williams, McLarens and Jordans are
faster. Move out of way, dont get black-flag
(thats wishful thinking, isnt it?) or
world-champion burying his right-front into your
back-behind. The marshals are partly to blame for
this as they are not using theyre brains even a
teeny-tiny bit. Blue flags appear to be saved for the
end when they wave any flag they can get their hands
For being in the wrong place, blocking the wrong
bloke, at the wrong time.
Collectively: Never mind, boys. Your car
obviously handles alright and Monaco is on the way.
The Ford engine might get you up the hill a few
times, but Id still hold your breath.
Frentzen: For bleating about the brakes in the
press conference. Don't try to make a point, Heinz,
you won. Stop being such a sod. Damon Hill didn't
bitch like that and he isnt bitching now, so
pipe down. Even Jacqes Villeneuve wasn't too cranky.
Oh, well. Playing the hard man in Australia has cost
you very dearly. Now you know how Damon felt in '95.
Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger, mix in the shadow of
Michael Schumacher, Jean Alesi's now legendary
stupidity and you have it right there. No more need
be said, take from this what you will.