Mercedes in the driving seat now

It was no happy homecoming for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, whose car let him down again as he retired after 37 laps.

The four-times world champion can kiss this season goodbye because he is too far behind the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton now to retain his title.

Rosberg edged a close battle with Hamilton to win the race. Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa took third and fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Daniel Ricciardo gave Red Bull some cheer at the end of a disappointing weekend by passing Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg on the final lap for eighth.

Rosberg leads with 165 points, Hamilton has 136, Ricciardo is third with 83, Alonso is on 79 and Vettel is fifth with 60. The Austrian race was watched by members of the Formula 1 Fans of the Cayman Islands in a delayed TV broadcast at PD’s Pub in Galleria Centre, where nearly 50 gathered even though many families have already started their summer vacations.

This was the first of four races to benefit the Humane Society. Almost $400 was raised with door prizes provided by Automotive Art, RUBIS and Power Flower being won by Steve Wood, Alex Slocock, Juliana Montoya, Donald Thompson and Wendy Leslie.

An auction was held for some of the much sought after official Formula 1 team jerseys, flags, phone cases, umbrellas and autographed items the club has amassed from its members going abroad to races.

This week’s top bidder was Martin Bures of Care Pharmacy, who won a hotly contested battle for a rare 2014 Lotus team shirt with a bid of $110.

The next race is the British Grand Prix on July 6 in Silverstone. This track is almost a home race to the majority of the Formula 1 teams as most have their research and team headquarters in England.

Local Red Bull distributor, Andreas “Zulu” Kettner is Austrian and with wife Gina they marked Sunday’s race by wearing lederhosen. But the sartorial optimism was wasted by Red Bull’s poor showing. Zulu finally admitted that only Ricciardo has an outside chance of finishing in the top three this season now.

Ferrari fan and Formula 1 club organizer Danny Roach said, “I’m glad to see the many new drivers doing so well. The winner in Montreal two weeks ago was Ricciardo who is in his first year with Red Bull and newcomers like Russian driver Daniil Kvyat and Danish driver Kevin Magnussen are giving the veterans serious competition.”

Roach added that the Force India team has become a major threat to the more established teams and is currently in fourth place and he would love to see more local Indian racing fans attend Sunday race days at PD’s, which usually begin at 9 a.m. and support their team and local charities.

Roach added that sports fans have been anxious to hear good news about seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, recovering from a serious head injury while skiing in France last December and has been in a medically induced coma ever since.

Last Thursday Schumacher’s agent and family announced he had been brought out of the induced coma, was conscious and moved from his hospital in Grenoble, France to another hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, closer to his home.

He is expected to be there for an extended period and no indication was given over his condition other than he was no longer in a coma.

Roach added, “I would especially like to thank our club members, Jonathan Adam, Ade Doherty and Julie Blais for bringing back many of our auction items from their grand prix trips, which give a great boost to our charitable fundraising efforts.

“We raised over $13,000 last year, which was split amongst our chosen charities; The Pines, Hospice Care, Humane Society, Cancer Society and Meals on Wheels. This week, we were honored to welcome Bernie Bush, the West Bay MLA. He and his family are longtime race fans and great supporters of local charities, such as the ones we have adopted.”