September 11, 2012


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September 10, 2012

Ben-To Ep02

So here we are again, at the intersection of 'lack of motivation' and 'sleep deprivation'.  It's been more than a few weeks since I tackled Ep01, which I'll admit was not my plan.  Still and all, "life is what happens when you're making plans," right?  Anyway, let us see where this odd little gem of a show takes us, shall we?

Oh, right, that.  A little bit of research turned up a fetish called "trampolining," where someone gets off on being stepped on and, I guess, jumped on, like they were a trampoline.  I dunno, man... I mean, one person's perversion is another person's turn-on and all, but this "trampolining" thing just sounds too weird for me.  What ever happened to simpler times, back when all you had to worry about was sax on television, or the debate about making Puerto Rico a steak.  Next they'll be wanting a baked potato with sour cream, too!  Wait... what?  It's "trampling," not "trampolining"?  Really? 

Never mind.  Turns out Desaturation Lass had a sore back from a late night of fan-fic writing, and The Ice Witch's legs looked soooo soft and... well, y'know.  Sen, the Ice Witch, gives our two rookies a quick little speech about not sitting at the club table unless they are prepared to become Wolves, and then...

...she tears off the head of our hero and swallows his spine.  Well, she did say that she's the only member of the Club, now we know why.  No, no, no, bad Wonderduck!  BAD.  You promised yourself to be closer to reality for this show, and already you've got The Ice Witch doing... terrible things.  Stop that.  The Half-Pricer Association now has three members, huzzah!

...and Ep02 is off to a rousing start.  Did I say "rousing"?  I meant to say "what the heck is this, soft-core pr0n without the nudity?"  Nope, it's Ben-to!


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September 09, 2012

F1 Update!: 2012 Grand Prix of Italy

A lovely day awaited the F1 Circus as the McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button led the field to the starting grid.  But would the British pair dominate in Italy, or would the tifosi get to celebrate a Ferrari resurgence?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2012 Grand Prix of Italy!

*LIGHTS OUT:  The beginning of the race saw something of a surprise when Ferrari's Felipe Massa got the jump on a sluggishly-starting Jenson Button, serving notice that he was out to prove something to the fans, his team, and perhaps most importantly, his teammate, HWMNBN, languishing down in 10th place.  However, other than a nearly-brakeless run into the first chicane, Massa could do nothing with Lewis Hamilton, who began to gallop off into the Italian afternoon.

*RELIABILITY I:  Toro Rosso's Jules Vergne was having a Toro Rosso sort of day.  Starting 17th, he was still more or less in that position as he came down the pit straight at 210mph to begin Lap 10.  Entering the braking zone for the first chicane, he pressed down hard on the "whoa" pedal... and felt the back end of his car snap away from him.  It was later found that his rear suspension failed, and there was nothing any driver could have done, cold comfort for a driver approaching the ridiculously high curbing at a still-elevated speed.

Vergne's wheelie nearly turned into a full-fledged tumble when he hit the "sleeping policemen" in the run-off area while somewhat sideways, but Lady Luck smiled upon him, bringing him down on all four tires pointing more-or-less the direction of travel.  It took a lap to clear the remains, but the race continued essentially unimpeded.

*MEANWHILE:  On Lap 19, Jenson Button finally got past Felipe Massa to reclaim 2nd place.  Behind the ailing Ferrari, which had suffered an electrical fault that had rendered the telemetry feed null and void,  Red Bull's Seb Vettel and the red car of HWMNBN pitted at the same time and came out with the reigning world champion inches ahead of the Spaniard.  A few laps later, the faster Ferrari tried to pass the German driver aroudn the outside of the Curva Grande in what looked to be a mirror image of the Move Of The Race from last year.  Except for one thing: Seb Vettel was having none of it.

Despite the Ferrari being alongside him, Vettel kept squeezing, forcing HWMNBN to take to the grass.  How he managed to keep the red car from spearing off into the great unknown is beyond us.  The stewards took a dim view of the young German's actions and slapped him with a drive-through penalty, but not until shortly after HWMNBN managed to pass the Red Bully on his own for 4th place.

*RELIABILITY II:  Jenson Button had reason to feel confident.  He had won last week at Spa, and was sitting in second place, just a few ticks behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton.  He might not win the race, but he had to have been thinking podium (and an improved position in the Driver's Championship ranking, as well).  Then without warning, it all came to an end on Lap 34, when a fuel pickup problem shut his engine off and sent him coasting to a halt on the side of the track.

*SUPER SAUBER STRATEGY:  Sergio Perez started the race 12th on the grid.  After running his hard tires for 32 laps or so, he finally came in for his one and only pit-stop, the last to do so.  He emerged in eighth, and immediately began to show that the Sauber chassis really really liked the softer tire.  Lap after lap, Perez had the fastest car on track.  Eventually he was up in second place, a full second per lap quicker than leader Lewis Hamilton.

*RELIABILITY III and IV:  Earlier in the race weekend, Seb Vettel had an alternator fail on his RB8, ending his practice session early.  Today, a radio call to his teammate Mark Webber was the first indication that there could be a problem: "Seb has a problem that might end his race at any time, be careful."  Indeed, a few minutes later on Lap 48, the world champion was pulling over, his race ended by a truly frantic radio call to 'stop the car and save the engine.' 

Webber got to enjoy his promotion for a few laps until he too ended up withdrawing from the race.  In his case, however, it was less mechanical and more tire-related.  A late spin on worn tires put massive flat spots on all four corners, and he had to crawl back to the pit lane at reduced speed to keep the suspension-threatening vibration down; at speed, Webber said that he couldn't see the track because the vibration was so bad.

This was the first time since Korea 2010 that Red Bull did not earn points in a race.

*THE END:  The only laps Lewis Hamilton did not lead today were the ones Sergio Perez held before he made his very late pit stop.  Fittingly, Perez finished 2nd, a mere four seconds behind Hamilton and closing fast.  Behind him, HWMNBN came in 3rd, nine seconds ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Sergio Perez started 12th, stayed on-track on his first set of tires longer than anybody, then regained six places after he stopped.  He finished second for the second time this season, and now must be considered a dark horse for a win this year.

:  Ferrari.  They finished both cars while their two closest rivals, McLaren and Red Bull, could only get one across the line combined.  In the process, they've made great strides in the constructor's championship.  Not exactly what the tifosi wanted, but it's a decent enough consolation prize.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  On Lap 37, Sergio Perez tried to pass Kimi Raikkonen at the first chicane for 4th place, and had his hat handed to him.  So on the following lap, he tried it again.

This time it worked, the Sauber slithering around the outside of the first bend, then powering around the second while the Lotus tried everything he could think of short of squeezing the Mexican to prevent the pass.  Nothing worked, and Perez took off after Felipe Massa for third.  A nice pass for the driver of the race, with a pat on the helmet for the Finn for letting it happen safely.

*MOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  On Lap 22, Felipe Massa led Seb Vettel and HWMNBN after all three had made their pit stops.  Coming out, they found themselves behind the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo.  Massa made a speed move just before they entered Variante Della Roggia, followed by Vettel a moment later... a moment too late.

Boop!  In NASCAR, it's called "bump drafting."  In F1, Vettel is lucky he didn't lose his front wing... but, to be fair, it was awfully gentle contact.  There wasn't even much of a mark on the yellow nose cone of the RB8.  But we're talking about the reigning world champion here, so he gets the Mooooo!



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September 08, 2012

F1 Quals: Italy 2012

When a Ferrari driver wins a race, the church bells in Maranello ring in celebration.  When a Ferrari driver does something good at Monza, all of Italy takes notice.  So are the tifosi being deafened by bells pealing across the nation?  Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2012 Grand Prix of Italy:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.211 1:24.394 1:24.010
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.672 1:24.255 1:24.133
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:24.882 1:24.505 1:24.247
4 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:24.875 1:24.345 1:24.304
5 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:25.302 1:24.675 1:24.540
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.011 1:24.687 1:24.802
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.689 1:24.515 1:24.833
8 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:25.151 1:24.742 1:24.855
9 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.317 1:24.683 1:25.109
10 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:24.175 1:24.242 1:25.678
11 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.556 1:24.809
12 Sister Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:25.103 1:24.820
13 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.300 1:24.901
14 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:25.135 1:25.042
15 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:25.728 1:25.312
16 Custard D'Ambrosio Lotus-Renault 1:25.834 1:25.408
17 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:25.649 1:25.441
18 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Caterham-Renault 1:26.382

19 The Red Menace
Caterham-Renault 1:26.887

20 Tim O'Glockenspiel Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.039

21 Charles ToothPic Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.073

22 Narain Kittylitter HRT-Cosworth 1:27.441

23 Pete Rose
HRT-Cosworth 1:27.629

24 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes No time

Q1 107% Time
diResta has a five-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change.  Maldonado has two five-spot penalties for his actions at Spa-Francorchamps.

It's very quiet in Italy this afternoon... not only has Ferrari not gotten pole, but the hated McLaren has locked out the front row completely!  Row two is entirely ex-Ferrari drivers: Slappy Schumacher moves up after DiResta's penalty, and Felipe Massa*.  I suspect the tifosi are... confused over what to do when it comes to Slappy.  I mean, he's not driving for the Prancing Horse, but he had some small amount of success with them; do they cheer him, boo him, or clap politely?  I'm pleased to say that I don't expect him to win tomorrow, so my head is not about to explode.

No surprise regarding the performance of the Red Bulls, they just aren't great on tracks that need ultimate high speed, and yes, I'm aware that Vettel won here last year.  That was the RB7, a car that could honestly be placed in the conversation for "best F1 car of all time."  It wouldn't win, I don't think, but it needs to be considered (the McLaren MP4/4 is my vote for best, by the way: 15 wins out of 16 races, and 10 of those races were MP4/4s finishing one-two).  The RB8 hasn't shown anything resembling that level of ability this year. 

One disturbing problem shaping up this year is that Monza's surface is noticeably less smooth than it has been in the past.  Gandalf Kobayashi says that he nearly lost control of Shadowfax in P3 today... driving down the front straight.  There's been a number of gearbox problems as well; HWMNBN had his crap out on him yesterday, Paul diResta changed one last night, and his teammate at Force India, Nico Hulkenberg, had his fail going into the first chicane on his first flying lap in P1.  We know that everything on a F1 car is machined to the most exacting tolerances possible, but nothing moreso than the gearboxes.  These are devices that can be disrupted by overly-powerful electrical wiring under the track, for heaven's sake.  Hitting them with weird physical vibrations, such as one might encounter on a newly bumpy Monza, is probably a great way to turn them into a handful of hate and metal shavings.  So reliability may be an issue on Sunday, too.

Finally, a milestone has been reached in F1 this year: this was the first time this year that Narain Kittylitter outqualified his teammate!  Next up, Kittylitter wins Monza.

Okay, maybe not.  See you tomorrow!

*yes, I'm aware Massa still drives for Ferrari.  For now.

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September 07, 2012

F1 Practice: Italy 2012

Okay, y'all, I'm gonna tell you the truth: I haven't watched Practice yet, and truth be told, I probably won't tonight.  Near as I can tell, however, I'm not missing much of anything at all.  Oh, sure, HWMNBN killed his gearbox with 20 minutes left in P2, and the Red Bulls have no speed whatsoever, but other than that, it was just a lot of lapping.  At least it looked good:

See?  A lot of folks think Monza is the best looking place to see a race, and it's hard for me to disagree when I see pics like that.  So Quals will be coming along in the morning, and I'll be there for that for sure!

In other news from the F1 world, Luca di Montezemelo apparently didn't care for the canapes in the FIA hospitality tent today, because he's saying that Ferrari could pull out of Formula 1.  Again.  Ferrari has threatened that every year I've been a fan, and probably every year since dirt was new.  Note to Luca: threats only work if there's a chance they'll be followed up on.

We had a F1 first today in P1, when HRT let Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua take the wheel.  All I know about him is that he won the China Touring Car Championship (1600cc Division) in 2011, and he's got the square-root of fark-all success in open-wheel racing, and nearly as little experience.  Either he's got awfully deep pockets, or he's some sort of prodigy.  I'm betting on the pockets.

Here's a name we haven't heard about in a while... Robert Kubica, injured well over a year ago in a terrible rally car accident, is apparently going to be returning to competition this weekend!  Yay!  In a rally car race in Italy.  Oh.  Hm.  Well, it's good to hear that he's racing again.  He probably won't ever be back in F1, but considering the injuries he suffered, any racing has got to be considered a bonus.

Finally, there's a lot of griping amongst the drivers about the track condition.  Specifically, Slappy Schumacher is complaining about the run-off bumps at the Variante Della Roggia, saying that if someone hits them after suffering a brake failure, the driver will surely suffer a broken back.  Osteoporosis is a terrible thing, Slappy, and I'm sorry to hear that you're suffering from it.  Mostly because I'm almost a year older than you.  He does have a point, though.  F1 cars have no suspension to speak of, no shock absorbers, and a driver basically sits directly on the floor of the chassis; hitting a bump at speed must hurt.

See you Saturday for Quals!

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September 06, 2012

Lighting Design On A Budget

You may remember some weeks ago, I was all happy and giddy about some little clip-on lights I found in a dump table.  Reader Ben of Midnight Tease fame thought they'd be just the ticket for a little problem he's had, namely photographing his anime figures.  After searching through eight other stores, and finding only one more set of them (which I greedily claimed for myself), I admitted defeat.  Then I found something cheaper, more flexible (literally), and probably better off all-around for his purposes.


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September 04, 2012

Huh... Didn't Expect That Tonight.

So shortly after I put up the last post, the lights went out here at Pond Central.  "Huh," I thought, "I wonder why that happened."  Which might tell you just how well insulated Pond Central is when the windows and everything is closed up, because THIS is what was going on:

Yep, the one thing you never want to see if a red crescent-shape to your thunderstorm... Bow Lines usually means high wind and lots and lots of violence, which is exactly what we got.  Not much rain, but lots of lightning and a ton of wind.  The power kept flickering... it was bad enough that I unplugged the my computer equipment, but not bad enough to not watch the new episode of Doctor Who.  Really weird how the TV and DVR didn't lose power while everything else was flickering and failing.  Oswin must have had something to do with it.

Oh come now, The Pond is nice.

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Custard's Back!

Lotus has made a decision on who will be replacing Lettuce Grosjean for the Grand Prix of Italy... ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Custard d'Ambrosio!

Okay, I'm being cruel.  It's hard for a rookie driving a Virgin to look impressive in any way, shape or form, I know that, and of course I cherry-pick the worst picture I could find.  Still, his little tete-a-tete in the Hungarian pit lane last year was the first thing that leaped to mind.  d'Ambrosio isn't horrible, and as the third driver for Lotus, he's not going to be completely fish-out-of-water.  I don't expect him to do well, mind you, but he won't completely embarrass himself.  And hey, this'll be the first time he's had a good car under him; maybe he'll surprise us.

I doubt it, but that's why it's called a surprise.

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September 03, 2012

F1 on SPEED!: Italy 2012

There are four classic tracks remaining in Formula 1.  The ridiculously confined street circuit, Monaco.  The birthplace of the sport, Silverstone.  The longest, hilliest circuit, Spa.  And then there is the fastest track, the immortal Monza, the home of the Grand Prix of Italy.  Let's take a look at the track map:

It's changed since those early days, shortened and slowed by the removal of some parts of the circuit, the addition of some chicanes, all in the name of safety.  Having said that, this is still the track that's the hardest on engines, with a full 80% of the lap spent at full throttle.  If a team could legally run a car without wings, this is where it would happen.

It used to be that the rear wings on F1 cars at Monza were more suggestions than actual downforce-creating devices.  Now with the introduction of DRS, teams actually carry a little bit of wing in comparison to, say, 2009 or 2010.  As it is, though, there's still remarkably little downforce used at Monza, all in the quest for straightline speed.

Which of course means that when you DO need to turn, it takes a lot of talent to keep the car on the circuit.  Parabolica is a particularly evil location; you break hard to enter, then accelerate all the way through a decreasing radius turn.  This is made all the worse when you realize you're doing this in a car that, at the best of times, is trying to cause you grievous personal harm as it runs along the ragged edge of traction.  Taking Parabolica without the usual amount of downforce must be... exciting.

Fortunately, the Legendary Announce Team will be bringing us all the excitement as they always do!  Let's take a look at the weekend schedule:
P1: 300a - 430a streaming
P2: 700a - 840a live
P3: 400a - 500a streaming
Quals: 700a - 830a plausibly live
2012 Grand Prix of Italy: 630a - 9a live

Of course, F1 Update! will be all over it like a cheap suit on rice.  See ya then!

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September 02, 2012

F1 Update!: 2012 Grand Prix of Belgium

A stunningly pretty blue sky greeted the field as they rolled towards the grid on the 7.004km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.  Jenson Button led the field but how long would that last once the lights went out?  Only one way to find that out: go racing!  THIS is your F1U! for the 2012 Grand Prix of Belgium!

:  As the leaders sat on the grid, waiting for the back of the field to take their places, cameras were focused on Monisha Kaltenborn, CEO and part-owner of Sauber F1 Team.  Yesterday, her look of pure joy as Gandalf Kobayashi took second place in Quals was a wonder to behold.  Now however, her look was one of concern and fear as Shadowfax, Gandalf's trusty steed, began to billow clouds of smoke.

The smoke was coming off of overheated brakes; not a bad thing, per se, unless they burst into flame, and that almost never happens.  One can only wonder what Gandalf's teammate Sergio Garcia, positioned directly behind him, thought.  As it turned out, this little occurrence was soon to be quickly forgotten.

*LIGHTS OUT... OH MY GOD!:  This was actually heard in the Official F1U! Viewing Center today as the race began, for many reasons.  First, Akhoond Maldonado had either the greatest start ever or he jumped the lights rather drastically, one of the two.  While the Stewards would later declare that he had jumped the start after viewing the telemetry and timing data, and Maldonado himself made it sound like he thought he jumped the gun ("My hand slipped off the clutch...") the Legendary Announce Team made a convincing argument that he, in fact, did not.  To be sure, in drag-racing terms, his reaction time was zero-point-zero-zero-zero and he aced the tree, but visually he looked to be okay.  It was only when the F1U! Technical Team got a HD version of the feed that we could see his Williams moving slightly just a couple of frames before the lights went out.  In retrospect, we should have known better: it was Maldonado, after all.  But then the real reason for the verbal explosion occurred.

In the always-crazy dash down to La Source, Lettuce Grosjean decided that he really wanted to be on the inside edge of the track, despite starting on the direct opposite side of the circuit... and nothing was going to get in his way.  As it turned out, he was very wrong about this, as the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton happened to be right where the Lotus was headed.  Grosjean's right-rear tire made contact with Hamilton's left-front, jerking the McLaren to the right, then once it was on the grass and uncontrollable, it snapped back and plowed directly into the rear of the Lotus. 

The two cars, steering completely wrecked, plowed straight ahead as the cars ahead of them made the right turn into La Source across their nose.  The Sauber of Sergio Garcia was ruined on the spot, Gandalf's steed took damage and would never be in contention again.  It goes without saying that Hamilton and Lettuce were out on the spot.  The Ferrari of HWMNBN was dead as well...

...and very nearly its pilot with it.  Fortunately, the Spaniard was uninjured except for a sore back caused when the Ferrari got airborne off the wheels of Shadowfax.  Hamilton's McLaren bounced off a different tire of the Sauber and caught air as well.

As a result of this incident, caused when he didn't look where he was going, Lettuce Grosjean has been given a one-race ban and will not participate next week at Monza.  The official statement from the Stewards reads, in part, "The stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty."  He was also fined €50000.  As one would imagine considering the amount of carbon fiber shards carpeting the track surface, the safety car was called out, and the field would circulate behind it for four full laps.

*HERE WE GO AGAIN:  Once Bernd Maylander took the AMG-Mercedes SLS into the pits, Jenson Button led Kimi Raikkonen and the two Force Indias as the race restarted.  Almost immediately, Button began to pull away from the field, opening a nearly three-second lead on the Lotus by the end of the lap, helped by Raikkonen being passed and then held up by the FIndia of Nico Hulkenberg.  Then it became a race of tires.  Unseen by US viewers, Akhoond Maldonado plowed into the Marussia of Tim O'Glockenspiel and retired.  For this and his jump-start, Maldonado earned two separate five-spot grid penalties for Monza... we here at F1U! wonder just what the record for individual penalties in one race weekend is.  Maldonado must be in the running, having earned three between Quals and the race.

*HOW MANY STOPS?:  Surprisingly, it quickly became clear that the frontrunners were planning a one-stop tire strategy.  Button didn't pit until Lap 21, at which point everybody else behind him save Seb Vettel had already stopped.  He had enough of a lead on the Red Bull driver to emerge from the pits still in first place, at which point the F1U! Strategy Crew wrote "race over" in the logbook.  It became merely a question as to whether Button, a driver known for his smooth tire-friendly style, could make his rubber last 23 laps around the longest track in F1... and who would finish second behind him, and could they make a one-stop work.

*YEP, AND NOPE:  Both of the Red Bulls and Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus were having problems with straight-line speed, a major blunder around this fast circuit.  The Finn had too much rear wing, causing  huge amounts of drag, down the Kemmel Straight, while Vettel and Webber had their gearing set wrong, resulting in their engines bouncing off the limiter much too early, limiting their top speeds.  This caused all three to give up any chance they had of catching the McLaren and battle amongst themselves for whatever final positions they could grab.  Vettel made his one-stop strategy work, keeping his tires fresh and finishing in second place.  Kimi's tires faded away, ruining his try for a one-stopper and placing him solidly in third after a snarling dogfight with Nico Hulkenberg.  Webber, on the other hand, was essentially crippled by his limited top speed, which made him relatively easy pickings for Felipe Massa of all people.  Massa finished fifth, Webber sixth, a full 20 seconds ahead of Slappy Schumacher.  The closest anybody came to Jenson Button, though, was that three seconds at the restart.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: As much as it pains us, Seb Vettel gets this award over Jenson Button.  While Button drove a fine race, Vettel started from 10th place on the grid to take second, passing his own teammate and Slappy Schumacher in nasty struggles along the way.  Just an all-around swell drive for the reigning World Champion.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  Force India finished fourth and 10th today, after starting ninth and 11th.  They avoided the first-corner carnage, drove professional races, challenged some of the biggest names in the sport, and heck, Paul di Resta earned a point despite a non-functional KERS unit.  Fantastic result for a team that needed it.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  On Lap 33, Kimi Raikkonen was crawling all over the pewter tail of Slappy Schumacher's Mercedes, but just wasn't able to find a way around down the back half of the circuit, the pit straight, or La Source.  Out of La Source, however, and in the run down to Eau Rouge, Kimi's nose was tucked right under the rear wing of Slappy.

Now you may notice that white line stretching across the track just ahead of the nose of Slappy's car.  That is the DRS detection line, which decides which cars get to use DRS on the Kemmel Straight (just after Eau Rouge) and which ones don't.  You have to be within one second of the car ahead to be able to use the DRS... Slappy Schumacher will not be able to do so, as there's no car ahead of him.  Kimi, on the other hand, will be able to; with his top speed limited by his mis-set rear wing, he'll need it just to stay in contact with the Mercedes.

Then Kimi went completely insane, diving inside on Slappy in Eau Rouge, a place you pass only if you have a death wish or supreme confidence in your abilities

Slappy, realizing he was being passed by an insane Finn, gave him room and let him go, perhaps secure in the knowledge that he'd be able to use DRS at the top of the hill and just catch him back up.  Oops.  Not only could he not do that, the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg could... and nearly caught him in the process.  For having two huge ball-bearings of steel and a working brain to calculate the best time to pass the German, we hereby present Kimi Raikkonen with the Move of the Race.  Sneaky clever!

: By rule, we can't give it to Lettuce Grosjean, as it occurred on the first lap.  So, instead, it goes to Akhoond Maldonado.

I think this picture sums up his entire career.  Three penalties in one race weekend, two of them in six laps?  Congratulations, Akhoond, you just got another Moooooo!



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September 01, 2012

F1 Quals: Belgium 2012

It doesn't need to rain for rain to affect results.  For example, with both Friday practices washed out, the teams were desperate for data to work with in preparation for today's bright and sunny Quals session.  The result was... well, predictably unpredictable.  Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2012 Grand Prix of Belgium:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:49.250 1:47.654 1:47.573
2 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:49.686 1:48.569 1:47.871
3 Akhoond Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:48.993 1:48.780 1:47.893
4 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:49.546 1:48.414 1:48.205
5 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:49.642 1:47.980 1:48.219
6 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:49.401 1:48.598 1:48.313
7 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:49.859 1:48.546 1:48.392
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:49.605 1:48.563 1:48.394
9 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:50.126 1:48.714 1:48.538
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:50.033 1:48.729 1:48.890
11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:49.722 1:48.792
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:49.362 1:48.855
13 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:49.742 1:49.081
14 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:49.588 1:49.147
15 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:49.763 1:49.354
16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:49.572 1:49.543
17 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:49.958 1:50.088
18 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:50.181

19 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Caterham-Renault 1:51.739

20 The Red Menace
Caterham-Renault 1:51.967

21 Tim O'Glockenspiel Marussia-Cosworth 1:52.336

22 Pete Rose
HRT-Cosworth 1:53.030

23 Charles ToothPic Marussia-Cosworth 1:53.493

24 Narain Kittylitter HRT-Cosworth 1:54.989

Q1 107% Time

There are moments in time that are just completely mind-blowing.  This isn't one of those moments, but it was quite surprising to discover that this is Jenson Button's first pole in 61 races.  That's Monaco 2009, if you're counting... the year he won his Driver's Championship with BrawnGP.  The person joining him on the front row, Gandalf Kobayashi, has a couple of bullet points today: it's his first time on the front row, and he equals the best qualifying position for a Japanese driver in F1 history.

Then there's Akhoond Maldonado starting third... except he's not.  He was handed a three-spot grid penalty for impeding Nico Hulkenberg in Q1.  That promotes pre-Quals favorite Kimi Raikkonen to third place.  The buzz up and down the pit lane is that Lotus is ready to win, and more importantly, is able to do so.  Sergio Perez will start right behind his Sauber teammate; that's got to be the best result the team has had since BMW left... and perhaps the best they've had in my viewing history? 

Clearly the second biggest surprise on the day must be Seb Vettel in 11th after getting the boot in Q2.  He didn't miss by much, but he did miss, which is essentially unheard of.  Again, not completely mind-blowing, but surprising indeed.  A welcome one, truth be told.

Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg both get five-spot penalties for gearbox changes.

The excuse that "nobody had data" to explain Sauber's performance, or Vettel's absence, or Kimi's location on the grid, is a little shady.  Sauber and Lotus have both been really quite good over the past few races, and it was just a matter of time for them to burst out.  The surprise may be that it's taken so long.

As to who's going to win on Sunday?  Button or Raikkonen must be the favorites... Jenson because he's the polesitter, and Kimi because, well, if he finishes at Spa, he wins.  He's had four finishes here, and he's won all four of them.  If I had to bet?  I'd go Kimi... but I'd find another bookie and put money on Button, too.  I'd also do a flyer on the Saubers, just because.

That's not the most unlikely top three I could imagine, but it's awfully close.

See ya Sunday!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:02 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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