As the 2014 championship nears its end in the artificial confines of Abu Dhabi next week, to be won by either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg, it is another silver seat that is provoking interest. At McLaren, it is as close to certain as we can get that Fernando Alonso, late of Ferrari, has a seat for next year in Woking. But who will partner him? Will it be incumbent Jenson Button or incumbent Kevin Magnussen?
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On lap 43 of yesterday’s Japanese Grand Prix Jules Bianchi’s Marussia aquaplaned and left the track. He hit a recovery vehicle which had been deployed to retrieve Adrian Sutil’s stranded Sauber after the German had had a similar accident moments earlier, in which he hit the tyre barrier. Bianchi was less fortunate. Judging by pictures released yesterday evening, he appears to have struck the rear of the yellow movable crane, part of which made contact with his helmet. As a result he is now in hospital undergoing neurosurgery.
“I just finished qualifying, I don’t know if you noticed,” deadpanned Fernando Alonso as he faced press questions immediately after the session today for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix. The truth is no one had noticed. The news was immense, earth-shattering – that Sebastian Vettel will leave Red Bull Racing for Ferrari next season, with Alonso presumably the man to vacate the seat at the Scuderia. Daniil Kvyat is in for Vettel at Red Bull, while Alonso is either destined for McLaren Honda or a sabbatical.
Today, on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg made contact at Les Combes. Hamilton was ahead and Rosberg behind, and the front right endplate of the German’s car hit the left rear wheel of the Englishman’s. It caused an immediate puncture for the leader and ruined his race completely, as he retired later, while Rosberg also suffered and ended up second in a race which a car with the Mercedes’ margin of superiority really ought to have won. As it was, the affable Australian Daniel Ricciardo scooped the win gratefully.