What was Fernando Alonso doing the week before the German Grand Prix? I don’t know, but I would hazard a guess that he took a trip back to his homeland to see how the towns folk of Pamplona deal with being charged at by raging bulls (albeit real bulls not cars called Red Bulls). Never the less it’s the Encierro or ‘running of the bulls’ participants mentality that the Spaniard has seemed to have adopted after another fine showing in Germany, finishing second to Lewis Hamilton.
In the bull run, the objective is…well quite obvious to stay alive by not being trampled by the marauding beasts! The best way of not being trampled to death is by staying ahead of the bulls and keep as many bodies between yourself and the bulls for added protection. A strategy Alonso seems to have in mind “We have a small chance to recover the gap in the Championship, if we do races like this, we are on the podium and he isn’t,” he said.
“To have that combination in our case, we need the best possible performance from our team-mates, in my case, we need the best McLaren performance as well, to see the McLarens very, very strong and taking points from Red Bull.”
This means Alonso will have to be on the top of his game for the remainder of the season if his closest rivals are also going to have a car capable of beating the Red Bulls, and Webber of course to do what he can until the obvious “maintain the gap” call comes over the team’s radio.
Not everyone can run the encierro. It requires cool nerves, quick reflexes and a good level of physical fitness. Anyone who does not have these three should not take part. It is a highly risky enterprise. Bearing this in mind I’m sure Fernando would love to see a competitive Renault up there in the hand of his own title wrecker last year, Vitaly Petrov, who once again giving Button a master class in defensive driving at the Nurburgring.
Even if Ferrari and McLaren can steal a march on Red Bull in the second half of the year, we would surely see a repeat of 2009 when by half distance Button had an almost unassailable lead. Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull took points off of each other and Button eventually took the title in Brazil with a race to spare despite not winning another race.
The fat lady hasn’t sung yet on this year’s championship, even with Alonso’s optimism and ‘bullish’ attitude. I think she is definitely rehearsing with a few warm ups.