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Or that is what you would believe if you relied upon most reporting and opinions on the forums.
How people can kep getting 5 when adding two and two is a remarkable feat of endurance over logic. It is almost Homeric, though not in the ancient poet sense, but rather the 'Simpsonian' sense.
Yes it appears true that he much prefers the 'Scalextric' handling car that Newey seems to produce (and thanks to Martin Brundle for that metaphor), but it is also true that the little shit is just about the toughest competitor out there. The use of cultural stereotypes is often proved to be a false reality, but well...he IS German. He is also a very good steerer who has proven that he can make a car go as fast or faster than anyone else. To suggest that he is on the wane is just nonsense.
Now being an Aussie, I am thrilled to bits about Ricciardo's success. I find it particularly impressive that he seems to have a lot more of the mental toughness than poor Mark had; but he also does seem to have Webber's outright speed and ability to produce strongly during the latter half of a race. Therein lies the problem. Like Webber (but not too much like him, thank goodness), he is not the best starter, and his first stints go from heroic in the first couple of laps, to 'can't quite hang on' for the balance of his first stint. From that point he seems to get more comfortable and get stronger. I'm not talking about just this year either. This pattern has been evident for some time. I really think that he needs a good year in this car before he will be at a level to contemplate regular wins (if the car is up it of course).
Once Vettel gets himself sorted, and I think he will, then Dan will find himself trailing his teammate in both qualifying and in the race. Not by much in terms of lap times I suspect, but certainly in terms of track position. That's when we will find out just how much like his mascot the Honey Badger, he really is. Actually, big choice error there. Should have chosen the Tasmanian Devil, or Tasmanian Tiger (please dont point out that the Thylacine is extinct, that is both unlikley and sightings do continue), though perhaps not a broad enough appeal there.
Does anyone remember in 2010 when Vettel last complained about his car? It was said to be a crack in the tub, and when they gave him a new one, he was off and running to the championship. Marko is using the same excuse this time - which is more than a little suspicious - but dont be surprised if when the new Suzy arrives that Seb takes off again.
I suspect Red Bull will win their first race in Austria, and will then continue last year's winning streak. Hopefully things will get exciting during the last few races. Not a fan, but if Vettel manages to win the title this year, I will have to take my hat off for him :).