July 31, 2007

Ducks In Anime: The Revenge of the Non-Rubber Category

Pay no attention to that duck in the corner...

Sky Girls, ep2

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July 30, 2007

Sky Girls TV

I've got a baaaaaaad feeling about this...

Dear Dad...

It's been a while since I last wrote. After that Worm attack, we put into Yokosuka for some major repairs and upgrades, and I was too busy scraping barnacles to write. I did find some old photos though, and I thought you'd be interested in hearing about how the Sonic Diver unit got to where they are. more...

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July 29, 2007

Well, that just sucks!

Oops.

I'm just wondering how it hit THREE cars. One I could understand, but THREE? That truck driver's got some 'splainin' to do...

UPDATE: I just noticed two things, completely unrelated to this story.
1) This is post number 600, and
2) I missed the two-year anniversary of The Pond @ .mu.nu!

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Ducks In Anime: The Non-Rubber Category

This duck is a loliletch.  I'm so ashamed...

from Moetan, ep1

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July 28, 2007

AMV PROJECT 2 ANNOUNCEMENT

Run in fear! Plead for mercy! BEG FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

No, wait... wrong script.

*shuffle shuffle* Ah, here we go...

*ahem*

Wonderduck Productions has begun work on it's second AMV. The subject anime will again be Kanon 2006, partially because I don't want to get into DVD ripping just yet, but mostly because that's what lept to mind.

Yes, just like "...Angel", this one sprung fully-formed into my brain... with a bonus: the song has never been used, according to AMV.org. In fact, the band in question (The Smithereens, best rock band of the '80s and early 90s) only appears ONCE at all, out of 150000+ videos.

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaaaa! Here we go again!!!

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July 26, 2007

StepneyGate resolution!

The FIA's World Motor Sports Council, essentially the grievance committee for every racing body the FIA approves, met today to hear the case of Ferrari v McLaren in the StepneyGate scandal.

For those not in the know, a Ferrari engineer, Nigel Stepney is accused of passing technical drawings to McLaren's chief designer Mike Coughlan. The WMSC, after six hours of hearing arguments and viewing evidence, decided to clear the McLaren team of any wrongdoing. However, they did also say that there is no question that Coughlan had the drawings. There's no proof, however, that McLaren benefitted in any way from that.

So, no penalties for McLaren in either of the two championships. The FIA also said that pursue action against both Coughlan and Stepney, over and above the ongoing legal proceedings in Italy and England. They also said that they reserve the right to recall McLaren if any evidence DOES turn up against them... so it's not really over, but it certainly is going to quiet down for a while.

The scary thing is that this is the RIGHT decision. By the letter of the sporting regulations, McLaren is guilty as hell. They DID have the Ferrari tech drawings in their possession, which is against any number of FIA rules, and, again by the letter of the regs, they should have been punished with anything up to and including exclusion from the season.

But that would also be the WRONG decision. It's pretty clear that McLaren, a team which has a spotless reputation for fair play throughout F1 history, is the victim of a rogue Ferrari employee in this situation, and shouldn't've been penalized.

What's scary about this is that the FIA made the right call. They NEVER do that!

Ferrari, of course, is pissed as hell at the WMSC's decision. After the verdict was announced, they said that McLaren was "found guilty by the FIA World Council," and it's "incomprehensible that violating the fundamental principle of sporting honesty does not have, as a logical and inevitable consequence, the application of a sanction". Ferrari then continued by saying that (the World Council's decision) "legitimises dishonest behaviour in Formula 1 and sets a very serious precedent" and is "highly prejudicial to the credibility of the sport". (emphasis mine)

Mind you, this is FERRARI, historically the dirtiest players in the sport, saying this. The saying is that the "F" in FIA stands for "Ferrari", after all. I'm amazed that they didn't get the ruling in their favor. Amazed, but happy.

So, the next phase of this circus is finding out what'll happen to Coughlin and Stepney. Stepney is gone from F1, probably... suspended forever. Coughlin may get the same treatment, though my guess is something much less. We'll see.

In other news, Spyker has announced the replacement for Marcus Winklehock, who was replacing Christijan Albers: Sakon Yamamoto, who drove for SuperAguri last year.

Only Spyker could replace a good driver with a lousy one.

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July 25, 2007

Ph34r t3h 5p01L3r!

I feel sympathetic to him now...

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July 22, 2007

F1 UPDATE!: EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX

So... not much of a race today, huh? The first part of this F1 UPDATE! needs to be read while listening to THIS.

*RAIN... THE GREAT EQUALIZER: When the red lights went out, the track was dry and the sun was shining. By the time the cars made the first turn, the sun was gone. By the halfway point of the first lap, the scene looked like this:

Monsoons?  In Germany?

All bets were off, as were most of the cars... seven slid off in quick succession, including four at the same corner, all in a row.

And Marcus Winklehock, making his first F1 start ever, in the worst car on the track (but the only one on wet tires), suddenly had a 30 second lead on the field!

Then you had a massive dive for the pit lane by, oh, just about every car still on track, nearly resulting in a pileup of monumental proportions.

Finally, after a safety car on lap 3, somebody in the FIA realized that while what was occurring on the Nurb Jr track was incredibly entertaining, it was also not auto racing. Auto SWIMMING, perhaps, but not racing, so they ran out the red flag, stopping the race for 15 minutes. Immediately upon deployment of said flag, the rain stopped. Upon the restart, the safety car stayed out for three laps, meaning that Marcus Winklehock, driving for Spyker, led the race for seven laps... becoming the first for the pathetic Dutch team to even run in the top eight at ANY time in their history.

Yup, it was that sort of day.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: David Coulthard's Chin started 20th after a flat-out miserable qualifying (that he blamed on his teammate, for blocking him on his hotlap). After the aforementioned Benny Hill start and a furious drive through the field, The Chin brought his car home in 5th, making up 15 places. Well done, DC'sC!

*TEAM OF THE RACE: RedBull. The Chin was 5th. Mark Webber was on the podium in 3rd. This was the best performance by the Red Bull team in a race ever... how could they NOT earn TotR?

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso was in 2nd, about 15 seconds behind with 10 laps to go, and satisfied with his position.

Then the rains came back.

Within three laps (and one pitstop for intermediate tires), he was all over Felipe Massa's Ferrari, doing everything he could think of to pass him for the lead. On Lap 56 he blocked Alonso into Turn 1, slid outside to keep the door closed into Turn 2, and Alonso tried going outside in Turn 3 but couldn't quite keep his McLaren stable. In the downhill section between the Sachs and Ford Kurves, Alonso got a good run on the inside and Massa squeezed him hard. The two banged, Alonso's left sidepod to Massa's front right tire. The damage was minor, but Massa lost a smidge of momentum when the Ferrari staggered slightly. This allowed the McLaren to take the lead, and the win a few laps later. A sweet pass indeed, and our Move of the Race!

*MOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: There is no question that rain makes all drivers release their inner bovines, but this is ridiculous!

Carpark or racetrack?
'I'd be scared, but I can't see anything!'

So to Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil, Scott Speed, Lewis Hamilton, and Vitantonio Liuzzi, we give the first five-way Mooooo-oove. You're our heroes.

*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...

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July 21, 2007

F1 Quals: The Nurb Jr.

Owtch.

That's the end of Lewis Hamilton's run in Q3. A tiregun appears to be to blame, meaning the locking nut may not have been on tight enough. As a result, the wheel would have been moving ever so slightly on the axle. This caused a failure of either the tire, or the wheel (which immediately led to tire failure). The McLaren careened off the track, got airborne when it hit the gravel trap, bounced, and then hit the tire barrier head-on... just one tire's thickness from clearing the barrier completely.

The car then came to a dead stop immediately, like a dart in a board. It almost seemed to stick in the barrier for a heartbeat, then fell to the ground. It was pretty much a worst-case scenario for an accident: 150mph to zero in nothing flat, no rebound, no explosion of car pieces everywhere (a la Montreal). Dale Earnhart Sr. was killed in a similar style of crash, though he didn't have a HANS device, and the concrete is a lot harder than a tire barrier. Fortunately, the in-car camera immediately showed that Hamilton was moving in a controlled manner, meaning that he was more-or-less okay. He kept pumping his legs, as if testing them for injuries, but it took him quite a long time to get out of the McLaren.

Hamilton DID eventually pull himself (slowly) out of the car, and was helicoptered to the Bundeswehrezentralkrankenhaus for tests and observation for a few hours. He eventually returned to the pit lane, and all reports say that he wants to race, though McLaren still has not said that he will. It's a fair bet that he will, since he seems to be uninjured.

In other qualifying news (*chuckle*), Kimi Raikkonen took pole in his Ferrari, Alonso is second, and Massa is third. The BMW Twins are 4th and 5th, with Mark Webber bringing his Red Bull in in 6th. 7th is Renault's Heikki Koveleainineininnie, with the two Toyotas 8th (Jarno) and 9th (Ralfy). The 10th spot is where Hamilton's McLaren qualifies... we'll find out on Sunday if he'll be the one driving it.

The rest of the field:
11. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:31.978
12. Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:31.996
13. Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:32.010
14. Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:32.221
15. Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:32.451
16. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:32.838
17. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:32.983
18. Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.038
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.148
20. David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:33.151
21. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:34.500
22. Markus Winkelhock Spyker-Ferrari 1:35.940

See you Sunday for the F1 UPDATE!

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July 20, 2007

F1 Practice: Aargh!

So I get home from work, settle in on the nest with a nice bowl of seed and a few slices of rye bread, rewind the videotape, and press play so I can watch today's second practice... and get nothing but a blue screen.

For 100 minutes.

Turns out that The Pond's cable system went out. It's working NOW, of course, but that doesn't help with the F1 Practice recap, now does it?

*ahem*

F1 UPDATE! apologizes, but the report on Practice 2 will be delayed until Saturday afternoon/evening. Until then, please enjoy this:

Wonder if I can get a partnership for my cable company...

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July 18, 2007

F1 ON SPEED!

First, lets welcome Marcus Winklehock to the F1 family! He's taking the place of Christijan Albers in the Spyker team, at least for this race. He's German, the European Grand Prix is at Nurburgring Junior, so it's a shoe-in!

But after this? The rumors say we'll be welcoming back the first Indian F1 driver, Narain Kittylitter! Way to improve your team, Spyker!

Now then, F1 is entirely on SPEED for the rest of the season, and I couldn't be happier. Yes, the FOX races were essentially the same as what we got on SPEED, but I think the Legendary Announce Team were watering down their race call for the Big Network audience.

We'll find out for sure starting Friday from 7am to 830am, with live coverage of Practice 2. At 11pm, until Midnight, we get F1 Debrief. Come see the LAT sit around with no pants on, talking F1. (get it? "Debrief"?)

I'll pass, though I suppose someone might enjoy it.

On Saturday, from 7am to 830am, we get live coverage of Quals for the European Grand Prix. There's a replay beginning at 1230pm, too!

Sunday, our coverage of race day starts with the GP2 feature race at 5am, until 630am.

Then, the Big Boys come out at 630am, until 9am, for the European Grand Prix, LIVE. The race is replayed at 1130am.

Let's see if the home crowd gives BMW any boost... I'm getting bored with seeing Ferrari and McLaren owning the first two rows on the grid.

And remember: Narain Kittylitter!

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July 17, 2007

The Eyes Have It

Over at Chizumatic, Steven is talking about who Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya really is, and mentions that "some fans speculate that Mikuru is actually Kyon's younger sister." He then goes on to say that "they have the same eyes."

Hmm. Sounds like a fun bit of speculation, and one that I had no previous opinion on... let's take a look! I called up my AFK fansubs (which gives us a lot more opportunities to take screenshots of Imouto-chan), and photoshop, and started snappin'. I tried to match camera angles as much as possible on all of these, of course, and I used the left eye of each... here's a result:

Lisa Lopes not pictured.

Top row, L to R, we have Imouto, Mikuru and Haruhi (for comparison). Haruhi's looks like Imouto's but not Mikuru's. Mikuru's is longer than Imouto's or Haruhi's... I think.
Bottom row, we've got Imouto and Mikuru. The shapes of the eyes are... different, but that might be because Imouto is grumpy in her shot, where Mikuru is happy.

Still, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the "same eyes" arguement, but not enough to disprove the theory. Further study I leave to the interested individual; I don't see Imouto being a younger version of Mikuru, m'self, but I'm not about to rule it out, either, based on my short experiment.

Then, for a lark, I decided to go farther afield... for your entertainment, here's even MORE left eyes:
It's a potato!  See, it's got lots of eyes...

Can you name them? Answers and further discussion below: more...

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July 16, 2007

125 Years In The Making...

This past weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies became the first professional sports team in any league anywhere to lose 10,000 games.

That's quite the achievement. Think about it: they have gone out and lost an average of 80 games a season for the past 125 years. These days, that's not so horrible, what with the season being 162 games long. But for a long, LONG time, 154 games or fewer was the norm.

Still, one has to tip the cap to the Phils. You don't get to lose that many games without doing something right! So, in honor of their record, I present them with this:

Ow.  Ow ow ow.  Owtch.  Ow.  Oof.

Why, yes, I AM a Cubs fan, why do you ask?

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July 15, 2007

Beware the Power of the Cute Side

Dear... god... not the quivering chin!

Moetan, ep 1

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July 12, 2007

Son of a BEECHMARTIN!

Say goodbye to the USGP at Indianapolis.

According to Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO, he and Darth Ecclestone have mutually agreed to not schedule a Grand Prix at Indy in 2008.

"After several discussions, Bernie Ecclestone and I were unable to agree how to keep Formula 1 in Indianapolis for the near term. However, we have agreed to leave the door open for a potential future date. It has been a pleasure having the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, and I hope that as we approach our Centennial Era at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an opportunity might present itself that would allow its return."

The fees charged to allow a F1 race to be run at a location are prohibitive; almost all F1 races are subsidized by the national governments. The two that are not are British and the USGP. Well, the one that isn't; the USGP is dead now... and Darth Ecclestone has been trying to kill Silverstone for years.

Of course, Ecclestone has repeatedly stated that "F1 doesn't need America." Guess he'll find out just how correct his statement is now, won't he?

SONOFABEECHMARTIN!!!

Frickin' moron. He'd be happy with karts going around the block and calling it F1, if it'd bring him more cash.

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July 10, 2007

Spyker Makes A Change

"Well, you won't have Christijan Albers to kick around anymore," yelled the driver as he stormed out of the Spyker offices.

The office staff snickered, and one wag replied by saying "That's right, and our refueling rigs are celebrating as we speak."

Albers walked a short distance from the Spyker building and sat on the curb, head bowed. "I don't understand," he muttered. "It's not MY fault my sponsorship money didn't come through. Did they have to fire me for that? Aren't I the best offroad driver in F1?"

A dark man stood above Albers, silhouetted against the noonday sun. "Csakugyan? Neked van nem sikerul," said the man, who looked vaguely familiar.

"I know you, don't I," asked Albers. "Why do you speak Hungarian?"

"En vagyok kerlelhetetlen halal, ugyel vmire teged. Eljossz?" The dark man extended his hand to Albers.

He took the gloved hand. "You remind me of..."

The dark man raised the visor of his helmet. "Would you like fries with that?"

Albers screamed.

All that was ever found was Albers' driving boots, smoking on the sidewalk, and next to them, the letter Z carved into the concrete.

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July 08, 2007

F1 UPDATE!: GREAT BRITAIN!

The wails can be heard across the pond (as opposed to The Pond), so I think we'd best get this edition of the F1 UPDATE! a-goin'!

*THE ICEMAN COMETH: Two in a row, and first man to three wins, Kimi Raikkonen has hoisted himself back into the Driver's Championship. It's also the second race that he's won in the second round of pitstops, but it took some serious driving to pull it off. He stayed glued to Hamilton's tail in the first stint, who proved to be running on a light fuel load. When he couldn't pull away from Kimi, Lewis' chance to win disappeared. Alonso took the lead after the first round of stops, but only because McLaren short-fueled him... and HE couldn't get away from Kimi, either. Raikkonen pounded out four or five brutally fast laps after Alonso's stop, and came out a couple of seconds ahead after his 2nd stop... and the race was over. Ferrari brought the speed today, but Kimi really made it work.

*...WHA HOPPEN?: Lewis Hamilton should have been able to make this a good race. After the first pit rotation, though, he fell from first to third, and just disappeared. He seemed to be having problem adjusting to his tires in the middle stint, and his car performance just cratered in the final run. He was still on the podium, true, but that's really only because Felipe Massa's Ferrari stalled on the grid and he wound up having to start from the pitlane. Lewismania is still alive and well, but this would have to be the most disappointing race of his career. All nine races of it.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Choose a Ferrari! Raikkonen wins with an impressive run, Massa finishes fifth despite starting from the pits. In fact, he was 10th by lap 8, and at one point was as high as third. We're going to give it to Massa, but if you think Kimi deserves it, we sure won't argue with you.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: McLaren. Ferrari had the impressive drives, but McLaren still had both cars on the podium, and it took some perfect racing from Kimi Raikkonen and perfect strategy from the team to keep Alonso from the win. They still have the same point lead in the constructor's championship that they had when they started the day, so it was a good day for them. But if Felipe Massa hadn't stalled on the grid...

*MOVE OF THE RACE: On lap 7 of Felipe Massa's charge through the field, he came upon the battle for 10th place between David Coulthard's Chin and Nico Rosberg. At Vale, Rosberg got into the grass, The Chin bobbled, and Massa nearly drove past them both at once. Instead, he only got Wonderboy, but was all over the back of Red Bull. DC'sC held off Massa for only a short time, but then Massa was gone, off in pursuit of Jarno Trulli. A nice little sequence, and quite deserving of the MotR.

*MOOOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Even the best get it wrong sometimes. They make one little mistake and their multi-million dollar triumph of engineering suddenly looks like a hoofed ruminant, grazing it's way across the fields. Today's Mooooo-oove wasn't quite as bad as Christijan Albers driving away with the fuel hose, but it could count as the first true race mistake of Lewis Hamilton's career. The young lad pits from the lead on lap 16, and a flawless pitstop begins... until the lollypop man signals Master Lewis to prepare to drive away. Hamilton, who probably had more adrenaline in him than any 20 normal beings, began to drive away... with the fuel hose still attached. He only lurched a foot or two, no real harm except for a couple of extra seconds lost, but it's the first sign of rookie behaviour (note British spelling) from the 22-year old. Nicely done, Lewis Hamilton, here's your first Mooooo-oove!

*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...

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July 07, 2007

Rah, rah, R.A.H.!!!*

Today, July 7th, would have been Robert A. Heinlein's 100th birthday.

Starship Troopers was the first sci-fi book I ever read, and got me hooked on the genre for life. I'm proud to have a complete collection of his books on my shelves.

The man invented waldos, the waterbed, helped with the creation of the spacesuit, and was the first to use the word "moonbat".

I can't stand Stranger In A Strange Land, which I think is a pretentious pile of steaming dingo kidneys, and some of his later books show signs of having been affected by his TIA, blocked carotid artery, and 2-year bout with peritonitis, but even the worst Heinlein novels (except for Farnham's Freehold, which is his weakest book ever) are better than 75% of all books ever (in my opinion, of course; your mileage may vary).

His juveniles, while now dated (having been written over 50 years ago), still hold up well, just as ripping yarns... I suspect kids would still get a kick out of them.

His attitude towards sexuality, race, religion, and individualism inspired and educated my own.

It may not be hyperbole for me to say that nobody influenced me more (save Momzerduck, of course) growing up than Robert Heinlein. I don't, and didn't, agree with everything he proposed, but he, more than any other author, made me think.

For that, if nothing else, I can only say 'thank you, Robert Heinlein.'

And happy birthday!

Oh, and for the record? My favorite of his books are, in order, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Job: A Comedy of Justice, and Double Star.

*with apologies to Spider Robinson's tribute with the same title.

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F1 Quals: Silverstone (and StepneyGate)

Rule Brittania! Britannia, rule the track: Hamilton never will be slow, that's the fact!

Even though he was overdriving his McLaren, pushing too hard and actually going too wide on the last turn, Lewis Hamilton managed to turn in a lap fast enough to bring him pole at his home Grand Prix. And the crowd goes wild. The lads in the McLaren paddock were going crazy, and even the generally staid 'Voice of McLaren' was sounding somewhat excited. Quite the moment for the lad.

And quite the letdown for Kimi Raikkonen, who had pole for about 30 seconds, pulling out a fantastic lap, despite looking like he was destined for row 2 at the beginning of it. Fernando Alonso ended up third, having been aced by Raikkonen at the last instant. Felipe Massa was 4th, completing the 2nd row.

McLaren, Ferrari, McLaren, Ferrari. Hm. Have we seen this before? Maybe this isn't surprising; with the espionage scandal floating around, I wonder if Ferrari had anything to do with the design of the McLaren? (see the extended entry below for an overview)

The rest of the grid:
5. Robert Kubica Poland BMW 1:20.401
6. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:20.516
7. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 1:20.721
8. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:20.775
9. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW 1:20.894
10. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:21.240
11. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:20.235
12. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:20.329
13. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:20.350
14. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:20.364
15. Scott Speed United States Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.515
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.823
17. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:21.219
18. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:21.335
19. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:21.448
20. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:22.019
21. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:22.045
22. Christijan Albers Netherlands Spyker-Ferrari 1:22.589

One interesting note on the factory Honda team is that they've gone back to their 2006-spec chassis: the same car SuperAguri has been driving all year. It's amazing that, despite all the money sunk into the 2007, they had to go back to last season's... and that it took them this long to make the call.

Click below for information on the ongoing Espionage Scandal, Stepneygate. more...

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July 06, 2007

F1 Practice: Silverstone.

Usual practice session for a F1 race today. Nothing really worthwhile to mention on the track, nobody setting jaw-dropping times or the like.

Which is not to say there wasn't anything going on...

And we thought Honda's was bad...

Here we see the RedBull of David Coulthard's Chin. Did it...
A) ...Just drive past some diarrhea-suffering pigeons?
B) ...Have some problems at the printers?
C) ...Have a photo-montage for a charity event put on for this race?

Roadbag!

This is the view from American Scott Speed's onboard T-camera. What is happening?
A) Blancmange! (particularly appropriate, given Wimbleton going on and all...)
B) Attack of the plastic bags!
C) I want to believe.

...the hell?

Ferrari had something new on their front wheels today. Was it:
A) Pizza pan?
B) E-Z Lift (tm) Handles?
C) Air Extractor?

Answers and commentary below... more...

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