Well, that was a fascinating race wasn't it? The lead changing hand several times, lots of overtaking moves, Montoya denied a second win in a row at the end and Button coming through for his first victory, and taking the lead in the championship. What? Ferrari? Who are they?
I think the best way to watch F1 this year is to go back to the heady days of 1987 and remember what it was like when there were two championships. Back then it was one for turbocharged cars, one for normally-aspirated ones, this time it's one for Ferrari and one for everyone else. Yesterday's TV director seemed to agree with me - once the Ferrari race was clearly going to make the score there Schumacher 3 Barrichello 0, you hardly saw them, mainly because there was actually some action amongst all the other runners. It's one of the things that makes it such a shame that Ferrari are so far ahead, because the next three teams (Williams, Renault and BAR) are all seem very evenly matched.
The new circuit looks good - lots of overtaking opportunities and both the drivers and the media were raving about the facilities. Even the sand didn't cause too many problems, just provifing a couple of interesting mini dust clouds with no serious trouble. Will be interesting to see how it races when the temperature really climbs there, though.
Anyway, in the words of the Rocky Horror Formula 1 Show
(lead character: Bern'n'Berter) 'there's three ways a race can go - that's good, bad, and mediocre' so let's get on with the ratings:
: All looking far too easy. How about a new rule that says they have to do 1 lap each race in reverse? I'm sure they'll still win, it'll just entertain the viewers more.
: Playing with the big boys now, and looking very comfortable with it. Even Sato seems ready to compete - and keeping ahead of a charging Alonso at the end should boost his confidence.
: On the cusp of average, but saved by the fact they've moved into second in the constructors' championship. Will be worried about Trulli still fading off after the half-way point in races, and Alonso's ability to make silly little mistakes that cost him quite a few places.
: I could easily have swapped them and Renault in these rankings, but they'll be glad of their first point, and Klien showing he can race well when he stays on the track. They need to get both qualifying speed and race consistency for a truly good race, though.
: I'm pretty sure they had two cars in this race, but I wouldn't swear to it.
: Recovering well after the nightmare of Australia, but still not up to last year's performace level.
: Definitely had two cars in the race, and they're comprehensively quicker than the Minardis, so a victory of sorts for Jordan in the Formula 1.5 category.
: I hear the Andrea De Cesaris monument to Mobile Chicanes may soon be adding Zsolt Baumgartner's name.
: Ralf Schumacher scored two points - it's just that the cost of them is likely to be a 10-place starting penalty next time around. It's poetic justice that his attempt to muscle Sato off the track saw him damaged and losing time. Montoya's bad luck makes you think he'd be glad to leave the team at the end of the year, except...
: He's coming here. It's beginning to look the McLaren end of season review could consist of just two pictures - Raikonnen blowing an engine while Coulthard trails the Renaults and BARs. Extensive buck-passing (is it the car? is it the engine?) isn't helping.
It's back to Europe after a three-week break, for what could be the final San Marino (or Sammarinese) Grand Prix. Extensive testing for all teams over the next couple of weeks, and it'll be interesting to see if that changes anything.