April 15, 2017

F1 Quals: Bahrain 2017

Of all the results I imagined I'd see when I got home from work/lunch today, I gotta admit, I didn't expect this one.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2017 Grand Prix of Bahrain:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.041 1:29.555 1:28.769
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.814 1:29.535 1:28.792
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.037 1:29.596 1:29.247
4 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:31.667 1:30.497 1:29.545
5 Mumbles Räikkönen Ferrari 1:30.988 1:29.843 1:29.567
6 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:30.904 1:30.307 1:29.687
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:31.057 1:30.169 1:29.842
8 Felipe Not Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:31.373 1:30.677 1:30.074
9 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:31.691 1:30.857 1:30.763
10 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:31.458 1:30.899 1:31.074
11 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:31.531 1:30.923
12 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:31.748 1:31.168
13 Pascal's Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:31.995 1:31.414
14 False Esteban Force India Mercedes 1:31.774 1:31.684
15 Indy Alonso McLaren Honda 1:32.054 DNF
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:32.118

17 Snuffy Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:32.313

18 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:32.318

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:32.543

20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:32.900


This is Valtteri Bottas' first career pole, and it's his own damn bad luck it had to come at Bahrain, where starting second is actually better.  That's the clean side of the track, as it turns out.  Still, you gotta hand it to him... it isn't everybody that can say they beat Hamilton to the pole anywhere!

There's nothing particularly shocking in the rest of the grid.  However, we do now know who will be replacing Indy Alonso when he comes to America instead of going to Moncao:  Jenson "I'm Not Retired Yet Either" Button.

Race at a normal time tomorrow morning... F1U! sometime afterwards!  See ya then.

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Quals will be late...

Just to give y'all a head's-up... I'm back on mandatory overtime at work, 10 hours minimum.  When quals is going on, I'll be at work, trying to get four or five of those hours on the clock.  Then I'm having a late lunch with Ph.Duck and his wife, RN(ret).Duck... I don't expect to be home until 4pm at the earliest, probably closer to 5pm.  I'll get the grid up asap.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em...

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April 13, 2017

F1 on TV: Bahrain 2017

Okay, let's get this out of the way quickly to get to the big news.  Here's the track map for the Grand Prix of Bahrain:

Here's the broadcast schedule, courtesy of the Legendary Announce Team:

Friday
Practice 2: 10a - 1130a  live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 1130a - 1p  live on NBCSN
Sunday
2017 Grand Prix of Bahrain:  10a - 1230p  live on CNBC

All times Pond Central.  Make sure you pay attention to the race being on CNBC.

Now, for the big news:

Fernando Alonso is going to miss Monaco.  Turns out he's got another gig that day.

You may have heard of it.  It's not been much of a secret that Alonso is frustrated as hell with the way his return to McLaren has gone, what with the car and engine sucking and all.  He's making a push for Racing's Triple Crown: wins at Monaco, Indy, and LeMans.  He'll be driving with the backing of McLaren-Honda, as part of the Andretti Motorsport stable.  Alonso says he'll only miss the one race, and will retake his seat in Canada a few weeks later.  We'll see.

The IndyCar world is stoked about this, too:

This is just f****** awesome. Welcome! - JR Hildebrand

Woo. I get to race against Fernando Alonso now that is cool. - Sage Karam

Obviously you need some balls to do it. I think that Alonso will handle it well. - Mikhail Aleshin

Welcome to the fastest motor race in the world Fernando Alonso! Great to have a world champion on the grid. - Max Chilton, former F1 driver

We’ll see how he comes up to speed and stuff like that but I’m sure he’ll be fine. Alex (Rossi) won it, it’s a decent comparison, I think, to him. - Marco Andretti, making this the first time Alexander Rossi has been compared in any way to Fernando Alonso.

If I were to give Fernando Alonso some advice into really getting ingrained in the Andretti Autosport team, I think it’s actually going to be pretty easy. He already knows Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi from their stints in F1. So that’s done and dusted.  I don’t know if he’s a fisherman but he maybe should brush up on that a little bit because all Ryan Hunter-Reay really talks about is boats. Other than that I think it’s going to be pretty easy for him. - James Hinchcliffe

Indy just became a must-watch.

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April 11, 2017

Tribute... Parody... Whatever, Sometimes It's Just Right

Long have I been of the belief that the flat-out filthiest instrumental line in the history of rock music is found in Rage Against The Machine's track entitled Killing In The Name Of.  I can take or leave Zach de la Rocha's vocals, but Tim Commerford's punching bass,  Tom Morello's hot guitar lick and Brad Wilk's metronomic drum performance is, in my mind, about as close as you can come to perfection in a post-punk / alt-funk-rap-metal thing.  Listening to live performances of the song, you have no doubt that band came either to play or kick your butt, and they still haven't figured out which they want to do more... so what the hell, let's do both!

Which is why this made do an honest-to-god spit-take when it popped up on my screen.

Actually pretty funky... makes me wonder what the apparently joyless de la Rocha would think of it.  Or any of the cover versions that are out there.  See, there's actually quite the cottage industry around covering the song...

more...

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April 09, 2017

F1 Update!: China 2017

A low and gray sky with a not-insignificant breeze greeted the Thundering Herd as they individually left their pit stalls and rolled out to the grid.  Actually, more often than not they came back through the pit lane for multiple pre-race laps.  There was a good reason for this: it had been raining all morning, and the possibility of rain coming back couldn't be discounted, but at the moment the track was drying.  The decision was clear on tire choice... everybody was on Intermediate rain tires.  Well, almost everybody.  But how would the slick track affect the drivers up front, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Seb Vettel's Ferrari?  Would a new rainmaster rise up?  And what of Embryo Verstappen, starting 16th after car problems in quals?  THIS is your F1Update! for the 2017 Grand Prix of China!

*LIGHTS ON: While the Inters were the tire of choice, one man dared venture out on the super-soft dry weather tires... Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz.  A pretty massive gamble, but one that came directly from the driver.  Meanwhile, up at the front of the grid, Seb Vettel had positioned his car somewhat off-center in his grid slot... and by "somewhat", we mean "half out."  He was doing this to be pointing in the right direction to challenge Hamilton right off the start, but the degree he was doing it was a clear rules violation.  The assembled members of F1U!'s editorial board were duly surprised when Charlie Whiting, the long-time race master for F1, let the race start without forcing Vettel to fix the problem.

*LIGHTS OUT
:  It didn't matter all that much, however.  Hamilton had a cracking start and held off both the Ferrari driver and his own teammate Valterri Bottas into Turn 1.  Behind them, Verstappen immediately began hacking his way through the field, ending up an amazing seventh after one lap.  Carlos Sainz, beginning the race on slicks, had a less-than-stellar start but quickly began to recover lost places as his tires showed their superiority over the Inters. 

*VSC, SC: Unfortunately Sainz never got to benefit from his gamble.  The Williams of Pleasant Stroll found himself buried in the kittylitter after a botched pass.  As it wasn't in an immediately dangerous location, Whiting called for a Virtual Safety Car.  This meant that everybody had to slow to a certain speed and, critically, hold position.  This let Lewis Hamilton keep his lead, and indeed, technically increase it when Vettel stopped for dry weather tires.  In a way, though, this meant that Vettel had the advantage: the Mercedes driver would have to change tires to slicks eventually, which would put the Ferrari in the catbird seat.  After all, Vettel changed his tires when everybody was rollin' slow.  Hamilton would have to do it when the race was green. The VSC lasted for a lap or so, then the field went back to racin'.  Until Sauber's Tony Snazzy managed to leave half his car scattered down the front straight after blasting the inside wall.  THAT brought out a real safety car, which gave Hamilton the break he needed to change to slicks.  He didn't even lose the lead while doing so.  Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz had to be wondering why the racing gods hated him.  His gamble deserved to work, and yet due to the failures of others, his advantage lasted a grand total of two racing laps.

*MIDDLE: Once the race resumed, Hamilton was in the lead and... Embryo Verstappen was in second place.  16th to 2nd in eight laps, not shabby.  However, the Red Bull driver could not keep up with the Mercedes.  Behind him, Smiley Ricciardo's Red Bull had Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel all over him rear wing.  The Finn was totally unable to effect a pass, and was complaining about his car to boot.  Meanwhile, Vettel was frantically trying to get around his teammate and having a singular lack of success.  This went on for at least 10 laps, while Hamilton opened his lead over Verstappen dramatically.  Eventually, Vettel got past his teammate.  A lap or two later, he blew past Ricciardo and began tracking down the other Red Bull driver.  This chase only last a few laps before Vettel destroyed the youngster.  The difference in pace between the Ferrari and the Red Bull was telling, and he quickly left him in the dust, but the damage had been done: Hamilton had a 10 second lead.  One is forced to wonder why Ferrari didn't tell Raikkonen to let his teammate past... we know they're not afraid to use Team Orders, after all... but it's hard to conclude anything but Ferrari threw away any chance to win the race during the time Vettel spent behind the Finn.

*END: As it turned out, that's exactly what happened.  Hamilton made his last stop for new tires after everybody else, never lost the lead, and cruised to a relatively easy win.  There is reason for optimism down the road, however.  While Hamilton did win handily, he wasn't able to open his lead on Vettel at all, and indeed he lost time here and there.  The Ferrari was actually faster than the Mercedes... but the race was lost during those laps where Vettel couldn't get past his teammate.  Meanwhile, the third step on the podium was claimed by none other than Embryo Verstappen.  From 16th to podium?  That's a useful drive, yep yep!  It's hard to think anything other than we'll be seeing a bunch of those three during the rest of the season.  Carlos Sainz's daring gamble earned him something of a booby prize: he finished seventh.  Points, at least.

*OH, ONE MORE THING...:  Hamilton got himself a Grand Slam today: pole position, fast lap of the race, led every lap, and race win.  That's his third, and only Vettel's four has more among active drivers.  Jim Clark had eight.

So that's it for China, next week we'll be in Bahrain!  See ya there.

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April 08, 2017

F1 Quals: China 2017

For a wonder, it didn't rain!  In many ways, that's great!  Fantastic!  Wonderful!  In other ways, though, it means that there weren't going to be any monkey wrenches thrown into the works and thing'll go the way they have for the past few years.  Here's the provisional grid:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.333 1:32.406 1:31.678
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.078 1:32.391 1:31.864
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:33.684 1:32.552 1:31.865
4 Mumbles Räikkönen Ferrari 1:33.341 1:32.181 1:32.140
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:34.041 1:33.546 1:33.033
6 Felipe Not Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:34.205 1:33.759 1:33.507
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:34.453 1:33.636 1:33.580
8 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:34.657 1:33.920 1:33.706
9 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:34.440 1:34.034 1:33.719
10 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:33.986 1:34.090 1:34.220
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:34.567 1:34.150
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:34.942 1:34.164
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:34.499 1:34.372
14 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:34.892 1:35.046
15 Tony Snazzy Sauber Ferrari 1:34.963 DNP

16 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:35.023

17 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:35.223

18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:35.279

19 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:35.433

20 False Esteban Force India Mercedes 1:35.496


Okay, yes Lewis Hamilton is on pole... again... but the gap back to Vettel's Ferrari is less than .200 of a second.  Which means essentially nothing, as it appears that the Red Cars have better race pace than single-lap.  I'm personally amazed that Bottas is .001 seconds behind... how can two cars be so closely matched?  Did the Finn turn a little too hard at one place?  Did he not get on the gas fast enough?  What???

The first four cars on the grid broke the all-time track record, set by Slappy Schumacher in 2004, of 1:32.238.  Again, that was the V10 era with practically no limits on what sort of aero protuberances you could have...

In other performances of note, Embryo Verstappen was dealing with an engine software issue when Sauber's Tony Snazzy did bad things to his car and the track barriers.  All he could manage was 19th as a result.  Haas's Lettuce Grosjean spun, suffered a puncture, then was dinged for not slowing down in the waved-double-yellow area caused by Snazzy's wreck.  He'll be starting from the back.

Everything else was pretty standard, which is pretty impressive considering the near-total lack of practice time on Friday.  All of this means we should be in for an exciting race on Sunday when the rains come... and yes, rain is predicted.  Buckle them there seatbelts!

F1U! will be along sometime on Sunday.  See ya then-ish!

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April 07, 2017

News To Chew On

First, something a little light-hearted for y'all!  Practice 2 was run today at Shanghai, and I'm going to let you watch the whole thing right here at The Pond.  Ready?

Just stare at this picture for 90 minutes, you'll get the same effect.  It rained and rained and rained and then it fogged all day... P1 was shortened, P2 never got rolling at all.  All that weather meant the medical helicopter couldn't fly... no helicopter, no cars on track.  Fun times!  I love rain delay theater... for baseball, a good broadcast crew can make a rain delay interesting and informative.  The Legendary Announce Team is... well, they're okay when it comes to Rain Delay Theater.  There was some talk about moving the race to Saturday, but that was shot down ASAP.  The race may be... interesting, as the weather isn't expected to improve.

Now for the Interesting (as in "may you live in interesting times" interesting) News.  My boss called me into her office today and we had a talk.  Upshot is, I'm still employed.  I managed to do enough to save my job.

Except that I'm still on the hot seat.  If my average numbers drop below the target for a month, I'm fired... and that state of affairs will last for at least a year, or until I'm fired, whichever comes first.

That was not the conversation I thought we'd be having.  I thought there'd be some congratulations at the great job I did getting my numbers up, or a pat on the head, or something more than "don't get excited yet, you're still in trouble."  So I'll admit to a little bit of downheartedness in my spirit at the moment, yeah.  Always good to get a morale boost, hey?

Quals allegedly in the morning.  See ya then. 

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April 05, 2017

F1 on NBCSN: China 2017

Shanghai... The Pearl of the Orient.  The showpiece of the Chinese economy.  The most populous city proper in the world.  So why the hell can't it sell out the Formula 1 Grand Prix of China???  Here's the trackmap:

Same as it's been since 2004.  Longest straightaway in F1.  I love that Turns 1-4 complex, for whatever reason.  It just looks like Hermann Tilke threw a french curve on his drafting table and said "yep, that's good."  Or his cat got involved.  Whatever, it's not my favorite circuit on the calendar, but it's hardly my least favorite.  It's just... there.  And while you would think that the new aero rules will turn this circuit on its ear, I've seen a report that estimates that the cars are going to be something like three kilograms short on fuel.  With the increased drag and higher engine output guzzling petrol, they think the cars can't legally have enough gas on board to finish the race!  They can carry 105kg, but will need 108.  Lift and coast, lift and coast... and hope for safety cars and rain.  Well, there's a slight chance of rain at least for race day.  That'll keep down the smog at least.

Speaking of race day, the Legendary Announce Team will be doing their level best to make everything exciting!  Here's the broadcast schedule:
Friday
Practice 2: 1am - 230am live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 2am - 330am  live on NBCSN
Sunday
Grand Prix of China: 1230a - 330am  live on NBCSN

...of course, all times are Pond Central.  Sometime after the race, the F1Update! team will get off their lazy kiesters and do their usual writeup.  Or something.  We'll see you then, then!

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April 02, 2017

Not Dead Yet! Pt 2

It's been a few days since I last updated y'all on the Great Work Adventure.  What it comes down to is this: if they want to fire me, they've got data to back it up.  If they don't want to fire me, I gave them results to point at to justify it.  Now it's just up to them.

I am not exactly filled with warm fuzzies by this.

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March 29, 2017

Not Dead Yet!

I'm locked in a titanic struggle with the claims at my job.  If I win, I stay employed.  If I lose... well... I won't be employed.  I might know the answer on Friday, I dunno.  As a result of my life-or-death fight, I've adopted some... unusual... sleeping habits of late.  To whit, I've been taking a nap around 8 or 9pm, getting up for an hour around midnight or so, then going back to sleep until I need to get ready for work, around 730a.  It seems to be helping, I guess.  Posting may be somewhat light for a few more days (chorus: "it's been light for a long time").

No ReLife for me.

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March 26, 2017

F1 Update!: Australia 2017

And we're back!  The last race of 2016, Abu Dhabi, feels like it was just a week or two ago and now we're starting up again!  The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton taken won pole position with his new teammate Valterri Bottas in third.  All was not roses for the silver cars however, as a resugent Ferrari pair sat second and fourth, Seb Vettel ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.  Would Hamilton run away with the season?  Would Vettel have something to say about it?  And Red Bull is always in the mix somewhere.  THIS is your F1Update! for the 2017 Grand Prix of Australia!

*LIGHTS OUT... WAIT, HANG ON... OKAY, LIGHTS OUT!: It all started while the cars made their way to the grid before the start.  Local hero Smiley Ricciardo's Red Bull came to a halt on the side of the track and needed a lift back to the pit lane.  This on the heels of a crash in Q2 that needed a gearbox change.  As it turned out, the team fixed whatever was wrong after the race started and sent Smiley out for a live-action test session... which lasted about 20 laps before a reported fuel cell problem sent him to the garage for good.  Meanwhile, up at the grid things were going equally as well.  As the cars formed up for the start, a marshal activated a yellow light about halfway down the grid.  Meanwhile, the pink Force India of Sergio Perez had stopped in the wrong box and was awkwardly trying to maneuver himself to the right spot.  Race Central saw both of these things happening and said "well, this isn't gonna work... send 'em around again!"  Aborted start.  The second attempt at a start was much more successful, sending the Thundering Herd charging to Turn 1.  Lewis Hamilton beat Seb Vettel in the sprint and settled into the lead.  Uh-oh.

*WAITAMINNIT:  In the past, seeing a Silver Arrow in the lead was sign that the race was pretty much over.  Oh, in the odd race someone could hang on grimly and mount an ill-fated challenge late, but for the most part the ending would be preordained.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the first pit stops: the Ferrari wasn't dropping back.  Vettel sat just about two seconds behind, clearly able to close the gap but unwilling to burn his tires to do so.  Hamilton, on the other hand, was doing exactly that in an attempt to pull away from the Prancing Horse.  After reporting his Ultra-Soft tires were overheating, Mercedes pulled him into the pits on Lap 17, a lap earlier than planned.  Coming back out on Soft tires indicated a one-stop strategy, and he ripped off the fastest lap of the race thus far immediately afterwards, but then found himself trapped in fifth behind the Red Bull of Embryo Verstappen who had absolutely no interest in letting the Silver car by.  Seb Vettel, also on Ultra-Softs, could be expected to pit shortly afterwards.  He didn't.  In fact, he continued to churn out competitive laps until Lap 23 when he finally came in for Softs.  He rejoined the race in third... ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton.  This meant that he was in the lead when the pit stop rotation was over, and it was time for the Silver Arrow to chase for once.

*THE BELLS OF MARANELLO:  As it turned out, the chase was awfully one-sided.  Slowly, very slowly, the Ferrari started to open the gap back to Hamilton.  On Lap 30, Vettel had a six-second lead.  By Lap 40, it was just over seven seconds.  By Lap 50, it was eight seconds.  The Mercedes had no answer for the Ferrari, between raw pace and needing to keep his tires alive for more laps than Vettel.  Behind him, teammate Bottas was comfortably ahead of Raikkonen, with Verstappen a fair piece behind the Ferrari.  The last man on the lead lap was Felipe Not Retired Massa in his Williams... and that only barely, some 1:23 behind (fast lap for the race was 1:26.5).  When the inevitable occurred and Vettel's Red Car swept across the finish line, it was the first victory for Ferrari since Singapore, 2015.  And in Maranello, Italy, home of Ferrari, the churches rang their bells.

*AND THEN...:  As the cars came around on their cool-down lap, the crowd stormed the track.  While nobody was struck, the cars were forced into a very narrow gap by the mass of people just an armreach away.  It appears that there was a communications mistake about when the crowd could be let go.  Lucky there wasn't an incident!  Well, a worse incident anyway.

And so Australia is in the mirrors, Ferrari leads the World Championship... the first time a non-Mercedes team or driver leads the championship since the start of the V6 era... and while it's dumb to try and prognosticate from one race, it's hard not to be at least slightly enthused.  Could we really have a fight on our hands?  The next race is two weeks away in China... we'll find out more then, and we'll see you there!

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Internet Problems

My internet connection is having a repeat of the problems I had earlier.  W8 just seems to lose the ability to talk to the internet... the modem is connected and fine, but the computer says there's nothing there.  Eventually it recognizes there's a modem, but pretends there's nothing hooked up to it.

Eventually, it figures things out and reconnects, for the same reason it lost the 'net in the first place... in other words, for no good reason I can see.  Today, I had been browsing the web for 10 minutes, no problems at all, and then it just up and... went away.

I mention all this just on the off-chance that it disappears again when I'm supposed to be uploading the F1Update! for Australia.  We'll see, won't we?

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March 25, 2017

F1 Quals: Australia 2017

It is a before one can race, you must qualify, and that's why the F1 Circus found themselves in Melbourne this afternoon... to begin the 2017 Formula 1 season! Here's the provisional grid for the Grand Prix of Australia!

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.191 1:23.251 1:22.188
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:25.210 1:23.401 1:22.456
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.514 1:23.215 1:22.481
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:24.352 1:23.376 1:23.033
5 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:24.482 1:24.092 1:23.485
6 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:25.419 1:24.718 1:24.074
7 Felipe Not Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:25.099 1:24.597 1:24.443
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.542 1:24.997 1:24.487
9 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:25.970 1:24.864 1:24.512
10 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:25.383 1:23.989 DNF
11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:25.064 1:25.081
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:24.975 1:25.091
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:25.872 1:25.425
14 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:26.009 1:25.568
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:26.236 1:26.465
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber Ferrari 1:26.419

17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:26.847

18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:26.858

19 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:27.143

20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:28.244


The more things change, the more they don't change.  Or something like that.  Is anybody really surprised that Lewis Hamilton is on pole?  What might be surprising is that the top three cars would break the track lap record if they turned it during the race.  These cars are fast.  We saw a lot of fishtailing and/or spins during the practice sessions and quals, and in most of those cases it looked like the grip just went away for no reason.  It may be more sinister than that... new compound tires and faster cars?  Hmm... I wonder.

I think the biggest surprise was the difference in performance between Haas teammates Lettuce Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.  Lettuce is a good'un, we know that, but KMag is a useful driver too.  Nearly 1.5 seconds difference in ostensibly the same car?  That's huge, and the difference between Q1 and Q3.

Please note the name at #16, Antonio Giovinazzi, who is pushin' to be called Tony Snazzy.  He's the reserve driver for both Ferrari and Sauber, and is filling in for Pascal Wehrlein.  Wehrlein injured his back during preseason testing, and while he's okay, he wasn't able to work on his fitness during that time.  After driving in the first two practice sessions, he said to the team "I can't do it... the g-forces are beating the hell out of my soft flabby body."  Probably.  In any case, he took himself out of the seat for the race and Tony Snazzy stepped in on zero notice.  He ran in P3, then went right into Quals... and only just missed out on Q2 at the last moment.  Not bad.

So, race late tonight/early morning!  See ya afterwards!

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March 24, 2017

F1 Pr0n: The Cars 2017

After the debacle learning experience that was my last attempt at this post, I gave it another shot last night.  After about 20-25 minutes of work, my internet connection went out.  In this case, however, it wasn't my provider's fault.  Instead, it was like my ethernet card forgot how to ethernet.  I wound up having to create a new network altogether, which wound up being deathly slow because it didn't understand the concept of IPv6.  After exchanging a series of text messages with Ben, the lovely and talented proprietor of Midnight Tease, who happens to be the inventor of the cable modem can create networks with the power of his mind understands Windows networking, everything... just started working again.  Unfortunately, by then it was stupidly late and I still had to work the next morning.  Which is why this F1 Pr0n post is happening just a few hours before qualifying for the first race of the season.  I'm half expecting a meteorite to hit my monitor while I'm working on this post now.

So.  The cars.  Sure, we talk about the drivers, the tracks, the glamour and glitz, but the real reason we watch Formula 1 is the cars.  There were a bunch of changes in the tech regs for 2017... the cars are wider, as are the tires.  The rear wing is wider and lower.  The dorsal fin has returned, as have aerodynamic fiddlybits.  And the upshot of all of this is that the preseason pundits prognosticate the cars will be a full five seconds per lap faster than they were in 2016.  What does this mean?  Well, Lewis Hamilton's 1:24.220 fast lap in Practice 1 compares quite nicely to Australia's lap record of 1:24.125 set in 2004.  By a car with a V10 engine that rev'd up to 19000 rpm, which sounds something like this.  Oh, and the 2004 cars are generally considered to be the fastest ever.  So, guess the new tech regs worked!  Wanna see the results?

more...

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March 22, 2017

Okay, That's It...

I finished the 2017 F1 cars post.  Done!  Completely finished!  Tons of photos, some clever commentary from me, some interesting design philosophies, all set and ready to go!

And then I went to open a new tab in Firefox.


You've undoubtedly seen an image like this millions of times.  I certainly have.  To open a new tab, you simply click "+".  And I pressed "X".  Just a few minutes ago, in fact.  Minutes that have been spent staring at the screen, wondering where everything just went and why I did what I did.  And there was anger.  Oh yes, much anger.  And somewhere off in the distance, a plaintive plea: "Mister, can I have my ball back?"

So, yeah.  F1 cars.  They're neato-keen!


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March 21, 2017

Spoke Too Soon, I Did

I should just give up on predicting when I'll have things posted.  The F1 Cars post is coming, just... not tonight.  Sorry.  It's been a day.  I need to just... not think... for a night.

To make it up to you, here's something I found.  If you like Tonari no Seki-kun, you'll like this.  If you've never seen the show, here's a treat for you!

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March 20, 2017

F1 on NBCSN: Australia 2017

Oh, hey!  Hiya, thanks for droppin' by!  What can I do you for this fine day?  F1?  What, is it that time already?  Okay, gimme half a second, be right back.  Gotta get dressed...

Yes, much better.  Hello there my loyal and true!  We are mere days from the start of the 2017 season of Formula 1, and there's been a lot of changes made everywhere!  The cars are different, the tires are different, the engine rules are different, the grid is different... heck, even the overall management of F1 is different!  It's been a busy offseason, but one thing hasn't changed: if it's the first race, it must be Australia!  Here's the track map:

Yep, no changes there... still the same mix of fast and slow, straight and curvy (but not too curvy) that's proven to be the perfect debut track for a new car.  The circuit provides a little bit of everything to the teams, the drivers, the car... it's challenging without being abusive, tough but not overly hard.  Which is not to say it won't bite your face off if you give it half a chance... just ask Fernando Alonso about that.  The walls are close, except at the end of straights, but the track is wide.  You can bounce off them, but you really have to work at it.  All in all, a better place to start the season probably doesn't exist. 

And as always, the good fellows of the Legendary Announce Team will be bringing us their lovely job of coverage.  However, since it's the first race of the year, there's some extras thrown into the mix!  Let's have a look, shall we?
Thursday
Practice 1: 11pm - 12mid, tape delay on NBCSN
Friday
Practice 2: 12mid - 2am, live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 1am - 3am, live on NBCSN
Sunday
2017 Grand Prix of Australia: 12mid - 230am, live on NBCSN

All time are Pond Central, add or subtract as needed for your local time.

Now then.  I intend to have one post covering the cars on Tuesday, and another covering the assorted rules changes and et cetera on Wednesday.  Perfect way to lead into the weekend, dontchathink?  We all cool with those plans?  Yeah?  Excellent!  Then we will see you here tomorrow for more F1 stuff!

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March 18, 2017

Music That Makes You Go "Well, That's Dark."

During my usual peregrinations throughout yootoob, amazon and twitch, I have been exposed to music and bands that I'd never trip over normally.  Usually it comes to nothing... 90% of everything is still crap, no matter how you wind up finding it... but every now and again something bubbles up out of the remaining 10% that forces you to pay attention.  At which point you listen to it, say "huh, that's nice," and immediately forget it.  Then there's the the really special songs, the ones that you listen to twice in a row, save in your "trax" folder in Firefoxy, so you can revisit it every few days.  I've had a few of those experiences recently, and they've all been... emotion-appropriate.  So here, my friends, are a few songs I've recently been impressed by.


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March 17, 2017

Adventures In Chemical Consumption

It's been made perfectly clear to me that my current state of employment is liable to change in the not-too-distant future if my output is not increased significantly.  As I have tried everything else I could think of, I made the decision to release the final set of restraints and move into less savory spaces.  So, I purchased a bottle of Pepsi.


Most of you are looking at that sentence and are wondering what the big deal is.  Some very few, however, knows what this means and are terrified.  To clear the matter up: some 11 years ago now I had The Cardiac Incident.  While I came through that more or less okay, my doctor told me to cut three things out of my life immediately: alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.  The booze was the easiest, that went away almost before he was done talking..  The smokes took six years and a botched tooth extraction to go away.  Caffeine took about a year of (accidentally) walking myself down... I quite dark colas altogether, intending to cold-turkey.  I was drinking an orange soda instead, and it turned out it had the stimulant in it as well.  Nowhere near as much, but it was there.  When I switched soda brands after that, I barely noticed the lack of caffeine in my life... except for the whole "feeling dumber" thing, but let's not get into that.  In any case, it's essentially been 10 years since I had caffeine in any way that wasn't "incidental."  There's caffeine in chocolate, for example.  Not much, and for me, not enough to even notice, but that's what I mean by incidental.  But think of that: 10 years clean.

If you're thinking my head would explode, rest assured I started with small sips only.  After an hour, I had only had about 1/3rd of the bottle.  Not long after, I began to notice some things.  One, I was breathing a little faster, and my heart was bipping along faster than normal as well.  My ears felt warm.  But I wasn't tired and I was working at a good clip.  Success!  Until early afternoon came around, and I'd killed off half the bottle.  Now, my stomach hurt, there was a buzzing in my head, and my hands seemed a might unstable.  There was a headache, too, but my hip was feelin' a might achy on top of it all.  Fortunately a friend gave me some Excedrin... Migraine Strength.  Which has caffeine in it.

The headache went away, the hip pain eased somewhat, but my knot in my stomach was such that all the sailors in the world would have given up on it.  Indeed, Alexander would have gazed upon it in approval while reaching for his sword.  Much to my surprise, around 330pm the neighbor to my left, who hasn't been in all week, arrived. She was obviously quite ill, and came in as late as possible to avoid getting people sick... most of our row clears out at 330pm, for example.  Anyway, as she unloaded her cough medicine, and her antibiotics, and her water, and the two fresh lemons, she also pulled out a brand-new bag of pretzel rods.  After downing four of those, things settled down a bit.

So what did I learn from all this?  Well, for starters, I have no idea how I drank that stuff back then... it doesn't taste anything at all like I remember.  While there was, I think, a small boost in production, the physiological reaction goes a long way toward negating that... or, to put it more plainly, "is feeling like crap worth it?"  I submit the answer to be "ugggggggh."

I'm finishing this post at 3am, after taking very long nap... at least I didn't have to worry about being awake all night!

Caffeine: not even once.  Again.  Er...?

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March 12, 2017

...Hold, Please... ...Hold, Please...

I'll be back soon.


UPDATE:  ...Hold Music, Please...

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