July 28, 2014

F1 Update!: Hungary 2014

The Grand Prix of Hungary only coughs up a good race when it rains... and it doesn't rain that often in Hungary in July, apparently.  Did it this time?  THIS is your F1Update! for the 2014 Grand Prix of Hungary.

*THE RACE:  Approximately 40 minutes before the start of the race, the heavens opened up and most of the contents of Lake Balaton found itself deposited upon the Hungaroring.  Charlie Whiting hung out the "changing conditions" sign, leading the teams to scramble to make any weather-related adjustments that they cared to apply to their cars.  Unfortunately for everybody, the track ranged from soaked to merely damp to "rain, what rain?"  This is the worst sort of situation for Intermediate tires, which desperately need water on them to keep them from dying.  The race began with everybody tiptoeing their way around the track.  Lewis Hamilton, starting from the pitlane, spun in Turn 2, doing a touch of damage to his front wing, but it looked like everybody was managing the conditions.  Until Lap 8.

*SAFETY CAR:  That's when the entire race went into a cocked hat.  The Caterham of Marcus Erickson went into the tire barriers outside of Turn 4, impacting hard enough to trip the Impact Detector in the cockpit.

He walked away before the Medical Car arrived on scene, but there were some butterflies in the stomachs of the assembled F1U! crew when the first marshal on scene gave the signal for "possible injury".  A few laps later, still under the Safety Car, the Lotus of Lettuce Grosjean ended up hitting the wall on the inside of Turn 4, extending the SC period for another couple of laps.

*FALLOUT:  War.  War never changes.  Just before the Safety Car was called out, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg led the Williams of Valterri Bottas, HWMNBN's Ferrari, and the McLaren of Jenson Button.  When Berndt Maylander exited the pit lane, it was after those four had gone past the entry to pit lane.  Suddenly, the people behind the leaders were leading!  Daniel Ricciardo got the big boost, jumping from fifth to the lead. 

*STRATEGERY:  Under the Safety Car, McLaren consulted their weather radar closely and came to the conclusion that there was going to be more rain soon.  While the rest of the field stopped and switched to slick tires, both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were kept on Intermediates.  The rain did not come, and both cars rapidly burned their tires down to the ground.  After that, neither were in contention for anything important.

*AND ALL THE REST:  One problem with wet weather races is that they require exquisite attention if one is to recap them adequately, and that level of focus is currently beyond the abilities of the F1U! crew.  There was another Safety Car on Lap 23, when Sergio Perez crashed on the front straight, and that turned the resumed race back into a dog's breakfast.  We'll skip to Lap 60, which saw HWMNBN leading Lewis Hamilton by just over a second, who was being pursued by Daniel Ricciardo by about a second.  While it looked for a few laps like the Ferrari driver could maybe... maybe... keep the other two behind, his tires were too old to legitimately hold the lead.  Surprisingly, it wasn't Hamilton, gunning to become the first driver to win from the pit lane, but Ricciardo who took the lead after disposing of the Merc.  Hamilton's fading tires also prevented him from getting past HWMNBN and left him open to a charging Rosberg to boot.  While the two teammates squabbled, the Red Car came home in 2nd place.  It should rain more often at the Hungaroring.

*OH, BY THE WAY:  Force India's Nico Hulkenberg ran into the back of his teammate and wound up stuck off the final turn on Lap 16, engine stalled.  This brought to an end his points finish string that actually started last year at the Grand Prix of the Americas.  This leaves only one driver to have earned points at every race this season: HWMNBN.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE
:  Lewis Hamilton.  Start from the pit lane, see how well you do in a race.  Think you can get a podium out of it?

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  Ferrari.  We're not fans of the red cars from Maranello, but dear lord did they need that result.

*MOMENT OF THE RACE:  In the mid-late portion of the race, Nico Rosberg was charging up on Lewis Hamilton, clearly somewhat faster for whatever reason.  The Mercedes pit wall called Hamilton and told him to move over and let his teammate past.  Hamilton responded with "aw hell naw."  To be fair, he said if Rosberg could get close enough, he'd move over.  Rosberg couldn't do it.  This may have cost Mercedes the race, but he had a point. 

There will be no quotes of the race this time around, as we're now in the F1 Summer Break, and none of the drivers stuck around to be interviewed.  The next race is at Spa-Francopants on August 24th.  We'll see you then!!!

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July 26, 2014

F1 Quals: Hungary 2014

I can only guess at what Lewis Hamilton is thinking right now.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2014 Grand Prix of Hungary:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.227 1:23.310 1:22.715
2 4Time Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.662 1:23.606 1:23.201
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:25.690 1:23.776 1:23.354
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.495 1:23.676 1:23.391
5 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:26.087 1:24.249 1:23.909
6 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:26.592 1:24.030 1:24.223
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.612 1:24.502 1:24.294
8 Jules Vergne STR-Renault 1:24.941 1:24.637 1:24.720
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:26.149 1:24.647 1:24.775
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.578 1:24.585
11 Kid Kvyat STR-Renault 1:25.361 1:24.706
12 Adrian F'n Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:26.027 1:25.136
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:25.910 1:25.211
14 Esteban! Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.709 1:25.260
15 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:26.136 1:25.337
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:26.728 1:27.419
17 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.792

18 Gandalf Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:27.139

19 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:27.819

20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:28.643

21 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes No time

22 Crashtor Maldonado Lotus-Renault No time


Maldonado you almost expect to see down at the bottom with some sort of problem, but Hamilton?  What happened there?  Simply put, someone took "Well done, Lewis" as an instruction.

Fuel leak, Mercedes is saying.  "More than just bad luck," Hamilton is saying, and for a wonder I'd have a hard time disagreeing with him... until you remember that this is the first year with a new engine/power unit.  I'm actually rather surprised we're not seeing more engine failures than we have been.  Yes, it's unfortunate for Hamilton that Merc's problems all seem to be happening to his car, but a flat-out conspiracy?  That's Ferrari-level stuff right there.

The rest of the grid is more-or-less what you would expect, save for Kimi Raikkonen down in 17th, not making it out of Q1.  As time expired on the session, Ferrari kept his car in the garage, secure in the knowledge that he had gone fast enough to make it to Q2... and times kept falling, and falling, and falling, and suddenly there wasn't time to go back out and he was bumped.  Ferrari-level stuff right there.

The race is shaping up to be one of the rare good ones that the Hungaroring coughs up every once in a while, because it's supposed to rain.  Heavily.  Between noon and 4pm local, which does a nice job of blanketing the contest... now we need to see it happen.

It'll put out Hamilton's car, if nothing else.  See you then!

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July 24, 2014

Unsurprising Surprise

Okay, I've managed to compose my thoughts enough to explain just exactly what's going on over on this side of the screen.  To whit:

I'm unemployed.

Monday afternoon, the Regional Manager stopped into the Duck U Bookstore, asked me casual questions about how the renovations to the building were coming, then fired me.  While I wasn't expecting it to occur, particularly after attending the regional meeting last week, long time readers of The Pond know that I've been living with a metaphorical sword over my head for the past year.  That took a lot of the terror out of it when it finally happened.  It also was good that he was at least polite about it: none of that "get out, we'll box and ship your stuff," he let me pack up the collected rubber ducks, emergency tie, cell-phone speakers, bag o' coal, that sorta thing.  And then I left my place of employ for the past ten years, drove home, and took a nap.

I'll admit, I'm not exactly heartbroken.  Oh, sure, I'm unemployed in a rather poor economy, and that's not exactly woo-hoo-making, but we're talking about a job that hasn't let me take a real vacation since December 2011, and has required me to work 10-12 hours daily for the past year, including most Saturdays.  I think, and I say this with no hyperbole, that the job was legitimately killing me.  So I haven't done much of anything, and nothing of any redeeming value to society, since Monday afternoon.

I'm okay with that.  Oh, I met some great people over the 10 years I was there... students, faculty and staff alike, not to mention people from the company... and I'll miss them, surely.  But I thought it would hurt more to lose this job... after all, it's the longest I've ever been at one place by years.  However, there's been no more work nightmares, no more waking up at 3am to mull over something that happened the previous day at work, and this is most important, I can actually relax for the first time in almost exactly a year.  And now, it's time for something new.
That's always exciting.

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July 22, 2014

Mini-F1Update!: Germany 2014

Explanations are forthcoming, but for now, please accept this Mini-F1U! for the Grand Prix of Germany.

*THE RACE:  All Nico Rosberg, all the time.  He led from lights out to checkered flag, and the closest anybody ever came to challenging him was at the beginning of the race.  That challenge, however, was squashed by Turn 1.  So, yes, boring race that way.  Behind him, however, things were all a-quiver with excitement.  Lewis Hamilton, starting 20th due to an accident in Quals and the resulting gearbox change, hacked and slashed his way through the field to finish third.  In the closing laps, he was giving eventual 2nd-place finisher Valterri Bottas the hairy eyeball; only fading tires prevented Hamilton from making a serious attempt to pass.  In other positions, Ferrari's HWMNBN and Red Bull's 4Time Vettel had a furious multi-lap duel, easily the most entertaining part of this race.  HWMNBN showed why he's probably the best driver on the grid, taking his less than stellar F14T up against a better performing RB10 and came out on top.  Alas, Vettel eventually turned the tables late with the help of DRS, but the two of them put on a show of driving skill like we've not seen this season.  It turned out that the Spaniard needed every bit of that skill to stay in front of Vettel's teammate at the end of the race.  On shot tires, he managed to finish a mere 1/10th of a second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, and there was no chance he could have held him off for another lap.

*OTHER BITS:  We saw two incidents in this race that, thankfully, we've not seen in a while.  First was the Lap 1, Turn 1 wreck caused by Williams' Felipe Massa squeezing McLaren's Kevin Magnusson. 

We here at F1U! hate seeing open-cockpit cars upside down.  You never know what can happen in those incidents... fortunately, Massa escaped injury.  The other incident was Daniil Kyvat's Renault-powered Toro Rosso having some... overheating issues:

The moment the Russian brought the car to a stop, it was almost entirely engulfed in flame and smoke.  Scary moment, scary enough that the Formula One cameramen immediately went from a close-up zoom to a very, very wide shot.  We can't see a driver roasting to death, after all... and it was quite possible that that could have happened.  It didn't, thankfully.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Hamilton.  20th to 3rd, thus limiting the points gain of his championship rival?  Good job, that.

*TEAM OF THE RACE
:  Williams.  Bottas' 2nd place moved them into third place ahead of Ferrari in the Constructor's championship.  Who'd'a thunk it?

*MOMENT OF THE RACE: HWMNBN vs 4Time.  Took a less-than-stellar race and made it must-see.

No quotes of the race this week.

This weekend is the Hungarian Grand Prix, our least-favorite race on the calendar.  I'm not even going to bother with the track map; here's the TV times:
FRIDAY
Practice 2: 1030a - 12n, tape delay on NBCSN
SATURDAY
Quals: 7a - 830a, live on NBCSN
SUNDAY
Grand Prix of Hungary: 630a - 9a, live on CNBC

We'll be there. You do the same, 'k?  K. 

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July 21, 2014

F1U Germany Unavoidably Delayed

Something has come up, I'll be doing the writeup later.

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July 19, 2014

F1 Quals: Germany 2014

Nico Rosberg is a German driver, driving for a German team, at a German track.  Yeah, he kinda wants this pole position really badly.  Did he get it?  Let's take a look:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:17.631 1:17.109 1:16.540
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:18.215 1:17.353 1:16.759
3 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:18.381 1:17.370 1:17.078
4 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.260 1:17.788 1:17.214
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:18.117 1:17.855 1:17.273
6 4Time Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:18.194 1:17.646 1:17.577
7 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:18.389 1:17.866 1:17.649
8 Kid Kvyat STR-Renault 1:18.530 1:18.103 1:17.965
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:18.927 1:18.017 1:18.014
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:18.916 1:18.161 1:18.035
11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.425 1:18.193
12 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:18.534 1:18.273
13 Jules Vergne STR-Renault 1:18.496 1:18.285
14 Esteban! Sauber-Ferrari 1:18.739 1:18.787
15 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:18.894 1:18.983
16 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.683 No Time

17 Adrian F'n Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:19.142

18 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:19.676

19 Crashtor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:20.195

20 Gandalf Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:20.408

21 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:20.489

DNS Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault



Q1 107% Time
1:23.065

Yup, sure did.  You may notice, however, that his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, is in 16th place.  This is due to a wreck in Q1.  A previous lap was fast enough to get him into Q2, but Hamilton suffered a right-front brake failure that pitched him into the wall with some force.  As it turns out, there's every chance in the world he'll be starting from the pitlane on Sunday.  Consider: both he and Rosberg use Brembo brakes on their rear tires, but Rosberg uses Carbon Industrie brakes up front.  Hamilton uses Brembo front brakes, and there's some thought that the team will force him to change for Sunday.  If so, that'll mean a start from the pit lane.  Before you ask, no, I have no idea what difference there is between the two companies.

The rest of the field is, more or less, what you would expect.  Another nice job from the Williams boys, and it looks like they'll be well-positioned in case of a failure on Rosberg's car, but otherwise it's clearly the German's race to lose.

Well, we shall see, won't we?  Race is in the morning!

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July 18, 2014

Another Year, Another Business Trip!

Longtime readers of The Pond know that I'm the manager of The Duck U Bookstore.  Every summer, the company assembles all of its managers to pass along the game plan for the coming school year.  In odd-numbered years, this is at the National Conference in Orlando.  In the even-numbered years, regions of stores get together at where-ever is local for them.  Two years ago, my region (Wisconsin, Minnesota, NoDak and one single store from Illinois) met in LaCrosse for talking, grilled food, a surprise train, and a chainsaw sculpture.  This year was a regional meeting in the cosmopolitan city of... Milwaukee.

pictured: Milwaukee's most modern mode of conveyance
Actually, I was quite surprised by how attractive a city Milwaukee is, particularly downtown in the "Riverwalk" area.  An area, I might add, I experienced in detail as the Thursday dinner for the meeting was on a riverine cruise boat named the Brew City Queen II.  I neglected to ask what happened to the first of her name.  Anyway, a pleasant two hour cruise down, then up, the Milwaukee river, then out onto Lake Michigan for a short while, then back.  I will honestly say that sipping on a beverage of choice while gliding up the river listening to smooth jazz is quite a pleasant way of spending an evening.

But of course I was joined on the expedition by that inveterate traveler Wanderduck.  The first manager trip was via land.  The second, the airplane was our transport.  It only figures that the sea should be how we got around this time.

It was much more water than he'd ever seen at once... he was more than a little nervous when we cleared the breakwater off Milwaukee's harbor and the BCQII took on an unpleasant little corkscrewing roll.  I'd heard of times when ships would take on positive values in pitch, yaw and roll simultaneously, but never dreamed I'd experience it on a partyboat.  While I wasn't sick, nor even vaguely discomfited, it was a disconcerting feeling to say the least.  Wanderduck desperately wanted to be away from the edge, not wanting to end up too close to Lake Michigan.  Truth be told, I felt much the same way... I didn't want him to end up in Lake Michigan either.  No matter how cool Cap'n Bob was, I suspect he'd frown on my pleas to circle back and try to recover an overboard rubber duckie.

Bright Lights, Little Duckie
All in all, I'd recommend such a cruise to any group of people in a situation such as this.  Good times were had by most, the food and drink were tasty, and Wanderduck made a bunch of new fans... what's not to like?

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July 16, 2014

To The Point

I appear to have drawn maybe a little bit of interest with my condemnation of Madoka: Rebellion.  To follow on this, I'm going to have to explain myself, it appears.  Unfortunately, I'll be heading north for a business trip tomorrow morning, and not making it back until sometime on Friday.  My explanation will be up Saturday night.

Madoka will have to wait until then.

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July 14, 2014

F1 on TV: Germany 2014

Look, I'll be honest.  I'm not entirely excited about doing this post, so instead of half-arsing it, I'm going to make it really brief.  Here's the trackmap:

It's Hockenheim, the neutered version of the real circuit that used to have a huge blast into the trees.  It used to start at where Turn 2 is now, ran to the right side of your screen and about another foot besides, then looped back to where Turn 6 is now.  To say it was fast would be an understatement... and thus it had to go.  Well, that and it would mean that about half the circuit would be out of sight of cameras and fans alike.

Instead, we'll see the Silver Arrows dominating everybody else through the gentle sweep of the Parabolika, with the Legendary Announce Team doing their thing.  Here's the TV times:

FRIDAY
130p - 3p: Practice 2 tape delay
SATURDAY
7a - 830a: Quals live
SUNDAY
630a - 9a: 2014 Grand Prix of Germany live on CNBC

I definitely won't be doing coverage for Practice 2, as I'll be in Milwaukee for a business meeting, then coming back to the store until 9pm or so.  I won't get home until maybe 10p or so... no way I'm gonna watch practice.  Quals and the race, though, yep.  See ya here then.

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July 13, 2014

Random Anime Picture #86: Tiro Cinque!


-Magical Girl Madoka Magica the Move III: Rebellion

It looks beautiful, at least as good as any anime film ever.  Truly, Rebellion is an awesome movie to look at.

It's a darn shame the Powers That Be decided to ruin the thing via the story.  Just criminal.

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July 10, 2014

Into The Black

I was once asked by someone who really should have known better what it felt like when I was depressed.  I thought about it for a while, then described it as walking down a very long, very dark hallway, knowing I couldn't turn around, and there wasn't any light at the far end.

And there never was going to be.

When these things hit, I slowly lose interest in just about everything.  If I actually do anything, it's pretty much by rote.  I have clean laundry sitting in a bag, waiting to be dealt with... it's been there for three days.  The towels have been in another bag since last week.

It's been a while since I haven't felt this way.  You might know the feeling, where simply the thought of leaving your apartment/house/box/spot under the bridge/whatever is enough to make you whimper or tear up.  Deal with people?  Heck with that!

Unfortunately, most of us don't have the luxury of being able to crawl under the bed.  Damn shame, that.

So if you're wondering why The Pond has been... um... empty of late, there's why.  It's not even that I don't have stuff to write about; I do!  I just can't bring myself to care about it.  Any of it.  Hell, I even missed The Pond's 9th Anniversary.

So, um, yeah.  Got anything you want me to talk about?

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July 09, 2014

Random Anime Picture #85: Station-ary


-Rail Wars! Ep01
I have hopes for RW.  Through one episode, it hasn't sucked.  It won't be legendary viewing, but that's okay.  Just keep givin' us red-hot coal shovelin' action, and us railfans'll keep watchin'.

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July 07, 2014

F1 Update!: Great Britain 2014

Clouds in the sky warned that we might get weather at Silverstone today, which would just make the race completely bugnutty.  Would that be enough, however, to stop the charge of Mercedes' Nico Rosberg from pole?  Or would 4Time Vettel have enough in pocket to slap the Silver Arrow off path?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2014 Grand Prix of Great Britain!

*LIGHTS OUT!  WHOOPS...:  Right off the bat, we knew it wasn't going to be much of a day for 4Time Vettel, as his Red Bull had a truly awful start, falling from second to fifth in the blink of an eye.  Ominously for everybody, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton jumped from sixth to fourth almost immediately, opening up the prospect of Hamilton chasing Rosberg for the lead... just like just about every other race this season.  But then Kimi Raikkonnen played his hand.  Starting 20th, he knew he had to make up as many places as possible as early as possible if he was going to earn any points for this race.  Unfortunately, he ran wide at Turn 5, a place with a huge expanse of asphalt runoff for safety.  Knowing this, the Finn just kept his foot down as he returned to the circuit.  Good for him, except for one problem: he misjudged where he was coming back and wound up bumping over a dirt track, sending the rear of his car into the air and, apparently, breaking his suspension at the same time.  When all four tires hit the tarmac, it immediately speared off to the right, slamming head-on into a metal barrier and rebounding back across the track.  At this point, Felipe Massa  came upon the accident.  Screened by the car ahead of him, he only saw the ruined Ferrari at the last moment.  He still had the presence of mind to throw his car into a skid so he hit Raikkonnen a glancing blow instead of running headlong into the ruined Ferrari.  Off to one side, Marussia's Max Chilton had a frighteningly close call as one of the Ferrari's wheels caromed off his car about a foot or so from the cockpit and the driver's head.  Raikkonnen got out of the car, visibly limping from what turned out to be an severe ankle bruise.  His impact with the barrier was measured at 47Gs, and the barrier needed to be replaced as a result.  This brought out the Red Flag, bringing the race to a halt for an hour.

*AND AGAIN: Once the race restarted, it was business as usual for the Mercedes boys.  Rosberg pulled away from the McLaren of Jenson Button in 2nd, while Hamilton blew past Button's teammate Kevin Magnusson for third.  It took only a couple more laps for Hamilton to dispose of Button and set off in pursuit of his teammate.  In the process of dealing with each other, the two Merc drivers managed to open up enough of a lead that they both pitted and resumed without losing any positions.  As the two were on different tire strategies, it looked like we were in for an exciting finish between two evenly balanced drivers.  Until...

*BOOM GOES THE GEARBOX:  Lap 28 or so, when Hamilton swept by a slowing Rosberg, who had lost the ability to shift out of sixth gear.  Rosberg ended up parking behind a barrier, out of the race.  Nobody came close to catching Hamilton, who finished a full 30 seconds ahead of the second place car of Valtteri Bottas.

*NOT ALL BAD
: Which didn't mean that the rest of the race was dull.  Ferrari's HWMNBN and Red Bull's 4Time Vettel got into a multi-lap scrap with both drivers pulling off incredible passes at the most unexpected times, fighting wheel-to-wheel for a dozen rounds of the circuit... and each complaining about the other's driving style repeatedly.  In fact, it got so silly the two gave the term "playground argument" a bad name.  Still, it was definitely the highpoint of an otherwise not so great second half.  All of it over 5th place, which Vettel eventually took.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Valtteri Bottas started 14th, a position unlikely to turn into much of a result.  Instead, the surging Williams driver scored his second podium in a row, and the second step to boot.  Next race?

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Red Bull.  4Time finished 5th, Mr Smiley Ricciardo was on the podium, which makes it look like the team might just have turned a corner maybe.  Or maybe not.  Either way, it looked good for them.

*MOMENT OF THE RACE


We're lucky it wasn't particularly bad.  20 years ago, Raikkonnen was probably dead. 

*SELECTED DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE
:

"Screw Rosberg.  I win." - Lewis Hamilton

"That was good fun!" - Valtteri Bottas (note: real quote)

"Ow!  I feel good!" - Daniel Ricciardo (note: real quote)

"Sorry, Dad, I couldn't swing it for you." - Jenson Button

"whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine" - 4Time Vettel (note: real quote)

"moaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnn" - HWMNBN (note: real quote)

Next race is in Germany, and already the Brit Hamilton is throwing barbs at his German teammate Rosberg: "He's not a real German, he is German-Finnish-Monaco-esque-whatever."

Dude, really? 

See you then!

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July 06, 2014

Ducks In Anime: Military Edition


-Girls und Panzer OVA

Okay, okay, so it's a DUKW in anime.  So sue me!

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July 05, 2014

F1 Quals: Great Britain 2014

Silverstone, the home of the Grand Prix of Great Britain, is found in County Northamptonshire, almost central to most of "southern England."  Terrain is perfect for the location's original purpose, that of a WWII airbase... flat and more flat, with wind and more wind!  It's long been said that Silverstone has its own microclimate, and if you ever needed proof of that, today's Qual session provided all you could ever want.  Let's take a look at the results:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.380 1:35.179 1:35.766
2 4Time Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.086 1:36.410 1:37.386
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:44.425 1:36.579 1:38.200
4 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:41.271 1:37.112 1:38.329
5 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.507 1:37.370 1:38.417
6 Whiner Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.058 1:34.870 1:39.232
7 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:42.146 1:37.350 1:40.457
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:44.710 1:38.166 1:40.606
9 Kid Kvyat STR-Renault 1:41.032 1:36.813 1:40.707
10 Jules Vergne STR-Renault 1:43.040 1:37.800 1:40.855
11 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:43.121 1:38.496
12 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:41.169 1:38.709
13 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:42.082 1:39.800
14 Esteban! Sauber-Ferrari 1:43.285 1:40.912
15 Crashtor Maldozer Lotus-Renault 1:43.892 1:44.018
16 Adrian F'n Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.603 No time
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:45.318

18 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:45.695

19 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:45.935

20 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:46.684

21 Marcus Ericsson ?-Renault 1:49.421

22 Gandalf Kobayashi ?-Renault 1:49.625


Q1 107% Time
1:47.406

In Q1, the session started on a damp track, which dried out in just the right way to confuse and confound the teams.  Teams that gambled on the call to switch to slicks early managed to turn a hot lap before the rains came back.  Teams that didn't quite change as quickly lost out.  This resulted in Williams and Ferrari, cars that you would expect to see up in the top 10, being eliminated early.  This also gave us the rare occurrence of Marussia making it into Q2.

Q2 also started in the wet but with a drying track.  The difference was that this time, it didn't rain again, nobody was caught by the weather conditions, and the Marussias were three seconds behind the polesitter.  Reality, it is a cruel wench at times.

Finally, Q3 gave us both wet and dry at the same time.  It began to rain over the last sector of the track towards the end of the first hot laps, and didn't look to be getting any better.  Indeed, it got bad enough to force 4Time Vettel to abandon his first run to keep the car in one piece.  So everybody was in the pits, hoping it'd stop raining and get better.  Then late in the session, after the rain had moved one, most did go back out... almost too late for the Mercedes guys.  Rosberg followed provisonal polesitter Hamilton across the timing line for his hot lap with one second left.  He immediately started screaming at his teammate to speed up or get out of the way... Lewis, feeling that the track hadn't improved enough, aborted his lap early, letting Rosberg past.  As it turned out, Hamilton was dead wrong.  Fully five other drivers beat his time across the line, his teammate gaining pole by nearly three seconds.  All this drama gives us a front two rows of Mercedes-Red Bull-McLaren-Force India... not exactly what most would have predicted.

So a scrambled field with fast cars at either end of the grid... should prove interesting for the predicted dry racetrack on Sunday.  We'll see you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:20 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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July 03, 2014

Now THIS Is A Helluva Picture


That is one of the Mutsu's main turrets after salvaging post-war.  The ship was in harbor in 1943 when it apparently killed itself, suffering a massive internal explosion that cut it in half.  Only some 350 men out of a complement of nearly 1500 survived.  The two aft turrets were salvaged in 1970-71.

What an amazing picture.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:03 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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July 02, 2014

This Or That

On one hand, it's 1010pm and I've just gotten home.  That's not so good.

On the other hand, I now have a complete load of clean towels and washcloths.  That's very good.

On the gripping hand, The DuckMobile rolled a natural 1 and came to a halt on the side of the road.  That's not very good at all.

On the... um... second other hand, it was the road in my apartment complex, 20 yards short of the crest of a hill that leads down to Pond Central's parking lot, and Ph.Duck was nice enough to help me get it there, so that's about as good as I can hope for.

On the whole, however, crap on a stick.

UPDATE: Main Rear Seal leak.  Cost of fixing it and the exhaust system where it's been leaking (and chewing away at the pipe) is, and I quote, "more than the car is worth."  Sez you, buster.  Anyway, car works again, I just need to watch the oil levels... that's what happened.  Oil was so low that the engine was, essentially, cutting out to keep from grenading itself.  *sigh* 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:35 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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June 30, 2014

F1 on TV: Great Britain 2014

There was once a time when I would wax grandiloquent about Silverstone, the home of this week's stop on the F1 calendar, the Grand Prix of Great Britain.  I would praise the Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel complex as my favorite stretch of track in F1.  I would speak warmly about its prior life as a bomber training base in World War II.  I'd even gush over the classic names given to locations on the circuit: the Hangar Straight.  Stowe, Woodcote, Copse, Abbey, and all the rest.  I would then end my gushing by proclaiming that Silverstone is probably my favorite of all F1 tracks.  Oh, and here's the track map:

I suspect I've gotten jaded in my years of F1 watching.  Or it may just be because the changes made to the circuit a few years ago were like covering a pretty girl with ugly tattoos, and probably just as necessary.  What I'm saying is that it's not my favorite anymore.  Oh, I'll always hold a place in my heart for the beautiful circuit of my dreams, but she's been supplanted.  If I'm still doing this gig when we reach the new Favorite Circuit, I'll let y'all know. 

Frightening thought: this is going to be the tenth GPGB I've done here at The Pond.  Just go click on "July 2005" and it's right there... and at 924 words, it's nearly as long as the F1U's I do now.  Funnier, too. 

So, yeah, Silverstone!  This is going to be one of the races that NBC moves around for whatever reason, so this "on TV" bit is particularly important this week... pay attention!
FRIDAY
Practice 2: 8am - 930am live on NBCSN
SATURDAY
Quals: 7am - 830am live on NBCSN
SUNDAY
Grand Prix of Great Britain:  630am - 9am live on CNBC

F1U! will be watching... will you?

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June 27, 2014

SUNUVABEECHMARTIN!!!, part whotheheckcares

I appear to be quite good at blowing my leg off disintegrating my entire body devastating whole counties shooting myself in the foot.  I hate days like this.

A lot.

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June 25, 2014

Mini-F1Update!: Austria 2014

Now that our internet connection seems to be stable enough for us to type for more than a few minutes without going away for an hour, and the peanut gallery appears to be getting restless, it's time.  THIS is your mini-F1Update! for the 2014 Grand Prix of Austria!

*THE RACE:  Not as good as we here at F1U! hoped.  It started off better than we could have hoped, with Williams' Felipe Massa holding the lead from pole and his teammate Valterri Bottas holding back a challenge from the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.  Amazingly, Rosberg's teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who had started in ninth, made his way up to fourth by the end of the first lap.  And that's how it stayed for pretty much the first 15 laps, until the first round of pitstops.  At that point, it became a question of which team had the best strategists.  The answer came almost immediately: Mercedes.  Rosberg pitted first, and when he regained the track his fresh tires allowed him to turn out a lap so blisteringly fast that neither Williams driver could keep him behind.  The same went for Hamilton, and somewhere the Williams pencilpushers were sitting there, wondering what just happened?  While there was little chance that either Williams driver could have won the race, what chance they had was thrown away by the simple decision to keep them out one more lap each.  IF they had pitted first, one of two things would have happened.  First, they could have forced Mercedes to "shadow" the movements of their rivals, forcing them to react instead of dictating the terms.  Or, secondly, the exact same thing that happened to Massa and Bottas could have happened to the Merc guys: fresh tires, a hot lap while the Silver Arrows are standing still, and the lead could have stayed with the guys with the retro-cool livery.  We'll never know, however.  Even with brakes on the verge of failure and overheating engines power units, Rosberg led his teammate across the line, followed by Bottas and Massa.

*OTHER BITS:  Reigning world champion 4Time Vettel suffered a near-total loss of power on the second lap, before whatever problem it was got fixed and he was on his way, a lap down and never in contention.  He'd last until Lap 36, when the team decided to retire the car.  At Red Bull's home track, no less.  The RedBullRing proved to be an interesting place to hold a F1 race, one that was particularly hard on brakes.  It's been since Montreal, maybe five years ago, since we had seen exploding brake discs, but Toro Rosso's Jules Vergne definitely had that happen on Lap 61.  And finally, in the pre-race festivities, every Austrian F1 driver ever got reunited with their old cars to drive a parade lap or two.  Niki Lauda and his Ferrari 312T drew the most attention, of course, but we here at F1U! were wistful at the sight of Patrick Friesacher behind the wheel of the Minardi PS04 once again.  Ah, Guido and Ethel, how we miss you here at F1U!land.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Rosberg, we suppose.  We're not hooked on the idea, though.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Williams.  It's been a very long time since they've had a weekend like this, and there were surely a lot of people up and down the pitlane happy for Sir Frank Williams.  And rightfully so.

*MOMENT OF THE RACE
:  "Let's keep Felipe out for one more lap."

*VERY SELECTED DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:

"Keep complaining, Lewis.  Your tears power my car." - Nico Rosberg

"Curse you, Red Baron!" - Lewis Hamilton

"I've never finished on the podium before.  It's so high up here!" - Valterri Bottas

"To pit first and come out fourth is a bit disappointing." - Felipe Massa (note: real quote)

"Felipe, I am faster than you." - HWMNBN (who was closing on Massa at the end)

That's it for this one.  Next up, Silverstone for the British Grand Prix!  See you then, then!

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