Umm of the month: losing control

Here at Formula Umm, we’re all about nonsense. If someone’s said something silly, chances are we’ve heard it. And then probably said something even sillier. But you can only be so silly. And when you pick on people’s silliness on a weekly basis, it can start to get mean. And we don’t want to pick on anybody.

But singling out an umm every week was starting to make it look like that — so we’ve decided to give everyone more time to practice and come up with a proper umm, hence increasing the prestige of this award.

So the recipient of the first award since this category’s reformatting will take great pleasure in knowing they’ve out-ummed everyone over an extended period of time. Eventually we’ll have an Umm of the decade award, which will require a party of sorts for its winner at the very least.

“Well”, I hear you asking, “who takes the prize for May?” You’ll be pleased to know we have this information — and we’re going to give it to you very shortly. But first, some background!

The Monaco Grand Prix was last weekend. The tight streets offer little opportunity for overtaking, and getting clean air (something that can only be achieved by being at the front) is more vital here than anywhere. This isn’t exclusive to the race, but indeed to qualifying and practice sessions, where drivers are often impeded due to drivers not getting out of the way in time. This of course is simply down to the nature of the circuit, and blaming anyone or getting upset over it is… well, a little silly.

But fresh off the back of his amazing victory in Spain, a performance that put his antics in Belgium last year to the back of our minds, the hot-headed impetuousness of 2011-spec Pastor Maldonado resurfaced. And it wasn’t pretty.

During practice, Pastor felt he’d been impeded by Sauber’s Sergio Perez on an out lap, and when the Mexican pulled over to let Maldonado through, he didn’t just give him the famous F1 drivers’ salute, he turned into him. No, not just a little swerve to show his disdain, but a fully-fledged what-the-eff-are-you-doing bump. Kind of like when the police in America take out a baddie, only in an F1 car.

Pastor Maldonado; eyes focused on the Sauber, steering sharply to his right and firmly fixated on the Sauber…

He may have had more chance of defending his actions had he not already established a reputation for deliberate collisions.

During qualifying for the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado came to blows, with the McLaren driver pushing Pastor aside in order to complete his flying lap. Furious, Maldonado swerved into Lewis on their cool-down lap, damaging both cars significantly. Despite receiving a grid-drop, some people gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed that whilst it was an act of aggression, the contact may not have been intentional.

And that may be the case in this most recent incident, too, but it’s difficult to see any reasons to believe his argument.

Which brings us nicely to the point of this entire article: the Umm of the month. So, ladies and gentlemen, we give you this not-at-at-flawed-in-any-way-whatsoever-honest extract from Pastor Maldonado’s the racing drivers’ book of excuses:

“I was trying to recover the car and when I recovered the car I touched Perez. I was completely in the oversteer and when I recovered the car the tyres took too much of the grip and I touched Perez.”Pastor Maldonado

So yes, you guessed it, Pastor Maldonado takes out his first ever Umm of the monthin emphatic style.

Perhaps his case might have been more believable if it wasn’t caught on camera. But it was. And to say the footage is quite incriminating is somewhat of an understatement.

The “oversteer” Pastor eludes to can clearly be seen in these stills where his helmet is facing his target unfortunate victim and the wheels are pointed not away from the alleged slide, but into it.

Pastor showing his fellow competitor how it’s done

Pastor also gets an honourable mention for stating his belief that his 10-place grid drop was excessive. But who wouldn’t agree with that? Formula 1 has worked so hard for so long to make racing as safe as it can be. Deliberately crashing into someone should be condoned, not punished. Right, Pastor?

Enjoy the spoils, Mr. Maldonado. Like your victory in Barcelona, you’ve sure earned them.

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