August 05, 2006
If you hadn't heard or didn't watch, both Parky and 'Nando were given penalties before qualifying today: 2 seconds added onto their laptimes. This means that to avoid relegation during the knockout format, they had be two seconds faster than the last 'green' car.
'Nando actually got two one second penalties. The first was for his antics during second Friday practice when he, apparently, thought he was driving a NASCAR vehicle and brake-checked Robert Doorknob (editor's note: hey, look! A Doorknob sighting) going into turn one. The second penalty was for passing under a yellow flag, also during practice.
Parky got his penalty for passing under a RED flag during Saturday's practice. The flag was brought out for a truly spectacular engine failure on Jensen Button's Honda that saw flaming chunks of aluminium spraying across the track, an oil slick that the Exxon Valdez would have been proud of, and enough smoke to clear the Hungaroring of mosquitoes for the weekend.
Here's the problem: Parky's penalties were handed down TEN MINUTES into the 15 minute Q1 session. As you know, I'm no fan of team Ferrari, and I'm REALLY not a fan of Michael Schumacher, but this is ridiculous. I have no problem with the penalty; he broke the rules and deserved to pay the price for doing so (see: Monaco, qualifying, 'Parky').
The problem I have with it is the amount of time it took the FIA to slap him with the penalty. There is, what, an hour between Saturday practice and the start of Q1? Does it REALLY take 70 minutes plus whatever time was left in practice to decide to hit Parky with a penalty, then decide what the penalty is to be? Did the FIA have a hard time waking up the Penalty Chicken or something?
And in the case of both drivers, why two seconds in quals? Why not a 10-spot penalty, which is a SURE penalty, as opposed to something that can be overcome (with difficulty, of course, but Parky almost made it into Q3 despite the time slap, missing by .200 of a second)?
I'm sorry, but the FIA seems to have a major case of cranial/rectal inversion these days.
On the plus side, you have Kimi Raikkonen on pole, with Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello rounding out the top three. Jensen Button would be fourth if his engine hadn't've detonated, which puts Pete Rose in that spot.
The other excitement was watching the Pole's run for Pole. Robert Kubica, in his first ever F1 race, took his BMW-Sauber into Q3, where he sat 6th for quite some time, until a flurry of new tires on the big boys dropped him down to 10th. He then managed to claw back into 6th with 1:20 left in Q3... only to be bumped back down to 10th after the smoke cleared. Still, a VERY impressive run for the 21-year old, who looked very confident out there... actually, he looked better than Nico "Wonderboy" Rosberg has since the first race.
But Rosberg had the name, and the GP2 background, and Kubica had neither. Oh well.
Looks to be an interesting race on Sunday. I'd say it's either going to be Raikkonen or Massa, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear that Ferrari is planning shenanigans to get Parky up the grid. The F1 UPDATE! crew will be all over this one!
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