With sports editors whipping themselves into an orgasmic frenzy over the new football season, F1 coverage has become harder to find among the soccer detritus. Even a stonking race at a classy new venue cannot help it.
This is not a phenomenon limited to the tabloids: Alan Henry’s piece in The Guardian languishes on page 24 of their sports supplement. Chelsea’s stultifying 1- 0 win over Arsenal gets page after page.
Henry is one of few journalists to stick blame for the Montoya Monteiro collision where if belongs most: with the lapped Jordan driver. “Responsibility for the the incident was laid firmyl at Monteiro’s door,” he wrote.
Well, it should have been, but it generally wasn’t. The race stewards had nothing to say about the incident. And the rest of the papers were lined up to blast the ever under-fire Colombian: “Montoya’s error mars Kimi’s win in Istanbul,” reported Greg Hobbs in the Metro and the Daily Star also slammed “Montoya gaffe”.
Kevin Eason in The Times drags his Montoya tirade on for six paragraphs, taking up nearly the entire article, leaving little room for other race highlights. Curiously, he was one of few writers to lay the blame for the Michael Schumacher-Mark Webber crash at the German’s feet – an easier point to agree with, but it’s difficult to understand how he can hold these apparently contradictory points of view.
The Daily Star’s version of events doesn’t tally with reality at all: “The German eased past [Webber] cleanly but a confused Webber tried to fight back and tapped Schumacher into a spin at the penultimate corner.”
Eagle-eyed viewers (by which I mean anyone who was watching the race and paying attention) will know that Schumacher got ahead of Webber via the Williams driver’s extended pit stop to replace a burst tyre. Nor can Webber fairly be blamed for the shunt when Schumacher had already closed the door on him once and knew exactly where he would be.
And in the tabloids? Inevitable Turkey-based puns! “Raikkonen Turks it easy” (Daily Mirror, 3/10), “Turkish fright for King Kimi” (Daily Star, 6/10). Unusually the tabloid writers largely overlooked Jenson Button’s stirring charge to fifth, perhaps his strongest drive of the season. It’s not often that they pass up on the chance to hail Briton’s most acclaimed driver – perhaps they were all watching the footie?
ITV weren’t showing the football, but as usual Jim Rosenthal gave you the impression that that was what he really wanted to be doing. But it wasn’t their fault that the cack-handed director missed Raikkonen passing Fisichella on the first lap. That said, the Bernie-vision team radio communications and braking and speed graphics were most welcome. More please!