- Maurice Hamilton's blog
Malaysian GP: What the papers sayMaurice Hamilton March 30, 2015
- Malaysian Grand Prix
Good news is not supposed to sell stories but Monday morning's newspapers have treated a change to the anticipated script in Malaysia as the cure for most of the ills affecting Formula One. A fortnight ago, the podium presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Melbourne had diverted disparagement; this time, it was Ferrari's pasting of Mercedes that gave a genuine reason to set aside the F1 critics' handbook and focus on an absorbing race.
A taste of what might have been is evident as writers put the two races in perspective and talk of 'doom-laden', 'gloom' and 'dreary' (The Daily Telegraph), 'moribund' and 'introspective doldrum' (The Guardian) and the more straight forward but nonetheless effective 'lowest ebb' and 'stinker' (The Times) when reflecting on Australia and tedious seasons past. Now we have 'thrilling', 'rare excitement', 'breathing life', 'welcome signal' and as many positive assessments as it's possible to cram into the space available - which, in most cases, is very generous given the usual prerequisite of a British victory.
Spreads in the quality end of the market focus on the significance of a Ferrari win per se in addition to its possible effect on the season, The Times running a succinct panel headed 'Italian team's revolving door', listing the 'Outs' and 'Ins' of personnel and finishing with the 'Out': "A record of no wins for the Scuderia since the Spanish Grand Prix in May 2013".
James Allison vies with Lewis Hamilton for mentions, The Daily Telegraph running a neat sidebar on the Englishman at Maranello. The Daily Mail uses mention of the Ferrari technical director to make a link between Ross Brawn and his former role at both Ferrari and Mercedes; praise where praise is due.
It would not be fair to expect the 'Red Tops' to reflect on Brawn's influence, particular when their man Hamilton has provided a tasty line or two with what Ron Dennis might describe as a 'verbalisation of an uncontainable frustration position' while trying to chase down the fleeing Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. The radio conversations receive wide coverage, the Sun leading its back page with 'RADIO RENTAL. HAMILTON IN TEAM FURY', while the Daily Mirror heads its full-page inside story with 'RADIO GAGA'. The airwave exchange receives coverage across the board, as does recognition of Max Verstappen's record-breaking finish in the points. All of which is good news because, for once, the beleaguered Christian Horner does not get a look in.
Given the absence of the usual pressing deadlines thanks to the time difference between Kuala Lumpur and London, it's perhaps surprising that none of the quality newspapers offer a warning that Ferrari's win could be a one-off thanks to unique conditions prompting a low tyre degradation that was assisted even more by Mercedes' tactical gaffs. The Times report finishes with: 'For once in recent times, the day did not belong to Mercedes silver but to a [Italian] passion that may yet ignite a Formula One season to the benefit of Ferrari - and millions of fans.'
It has to be hoped that a possible return of the silver status quo in China does not prompt dismal diagnosis in print as a reaction to widespread post-Malaysia claims that the patient is on the road to recovery, fit and healthy as F1 undoubtedly looked on Sunday.
Maurice Hamilton writes for ESPN F1.