August 16, 2018

I Didn't Realize...

Today, we lost Aretha Franklin, unarguably a music legend no matter what you like to listen to.

I know this is how I was first exposed to her as a young duckling, but what would you expect?  I was born in Chicago, Momzerduck was almost killed by The Blues Brothers, not the band but the film crew, and everybody hates Illinois Nazis.

But did you know that today in history was also when Elvis Presley died?
Sorry for posting the AMV instead of the original version, either of the remake or the original original.  But I'm still amazed by the work that must have gone into the AMV, particularly because it's 15 years old.  

Also on this date?
Yep.  Bela Lugosi.  To think that multiple generations know him only from this song... it's a shame, it really is.

Okay, yeah, pretty weak sauce for a post, but whaddya want for nuthin', a rubber biscuit?


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August 13, 2018

It's 2016 All Over Again

Last night the Cubs were facing Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals.  If you're not familiar with the National League, Scherzer is on the short list of "best NL starting pitcher."  And by short, I mean "him and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers".  And for seven innings, he proved the old maxim that good pitching beats good hitting, completely shutting down the Cubs.


Meanwhile, the Nationals were having a difficult time with the Cubs newest acquisition, Cole Hamels.  While not quite as sharp as Scherzer, he still had a great outing for a team that hasn't had many of those this year.  Despite that, the Cubs were down 3 - 0 going into the bottom of the ninth.

The Nationals brought in reliever Ryan Madson to close it out.  He got the first batter, then gave up an infield single.  He hit the next batter, then coaxed a pop fly for the second out.  Madson then hit another batter to load the bases.  What happened next was magic.
Skip to 2:45 for the moment of a lifetime
David Bote has played a grand total of 35 games of major league ball in his career, all of them this year.  He became the third player in baseball history to hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs and trailing by three... and he had two strikes on him,and he was a pinch hitter to boot.  Good way to end a game.

I'm starting to get those 2016 vibes from this team, because this is exactly how the 2016 team did things.  I'll take that, yeah.

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August 11, 2018

Duckford Blue

It was another late night at the job last night.  11 hours on the clock, almost 12 if you count the lunch break... by the time I finished my mandatory 10 hours of OT for the week, it was 945pm and I was the last person in the building that wasn't one of the three cleaning crew people.  Even they were leaving out the back door as I was heading towards the front.  Honestly, I think I had been the last person in the building since around 7pm... pretty much everybody tries to be gone as early as possible on Fridays.  Except for me, of course, mostly because I enjoy singing while working and I don't want to disturb my coworkers.

Sure, that's the reason.  Really.  It has nothing to do with my not being able to drag my butt out of bed with any alacrity in the morning.  Anyway.  My work done, I grabbed my cane and headed out the door to the parking lot.  Where I saw a police car sitting right behind the Duckmobile, headlights on and clearly running my plates, or whatever they do these days.  Technology: ain't it grand?  Immediately I began wondering what did I do wrong?   Because that's the first reaction of anybody when a police officer begins an out-of-the-blue interaction with you: the police are talking to me, ergo I must have done something wrong.  Even if, like me, you haven't had a traffic ticket in 32 years and the last time you were in court was for jury duty.

I began trudging towards the car, parked at the far end of a decent sized parking lot and after a long day of work... and ohbytheway, the police car too... when the police officer yelled "Is this your car?"  I had to restrain an insane impulse to yell back "No, this one is," point at an empty parking spot, and start miming unlocking the door, getting in and driving away.  Instead, I behaved like an actual adult and yelled back "Yes, that is my car."  Another question came back: "Are you Wonderduck?"  "Yes...?"

The officer backed up a bit, then drove right up next to me, driver side window to my left.  He smiled, or at least that's what I inferred from the movements the big furry caterpillar on his upper lip suggested.  "There's no problem, it's just that a lone car in a big darkened parking lot late on a Friday night... just thought it'd be good to check it out, y'know?"  I explained myself, finishing overtime, last one in the building, yadda yadda.  "Great, glad there isn't a problem.  You have a good night, Mr Duck."

And he pulled away, leaving via the lot's back exit (coincidentally, the same way I usually leave).  A few moments later, I see him go flying past, gumballs spinning, siren screaming.

So that was how my Friday night at work ended.  Upon reflection after a day's separation, it wasn't as exciting as I thought at the time.

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August 07, 2018

Yes, I'm Still Alive! Hooray!

Overtime is really kicking my llama's arse.  Weekends have been spent sleeping or doing even less than usual.  Weeknights... well, I'm usually getting home between 9pm and 10.


Which is not to say I haven't been keeping eyes on things, heavens no.  For example, Smiley Ricciardio is going to be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season and moving to the Renault works team.  Lets face it, with golden boy DH Verstappen on the scene, Dannyric was never going to be The Man at the Bull.  Whether moving to Renault will be a good career move or not remains to be seen, but at least he's free of the Dutchman.  Who will be replacing him at Red Bull?  I don't know, because there's a huge X-factor involved, namely that Verstappen has the ability to nix any driver the team tries to bring in.  So don't be so quick to say Pierre Ghastly, current hotshoe over at Toro Rosso, my friends.  He'd be totally logical, which means that DH might just say "no." 

In other F1 news, Force India nearly died recently... because Daimler-Mercedes and team sponsor BWT supported FI driver Sergio Perez essentially sued his team for $4million of unpaid debt.  Force India's engine manufacturer Mercedes says the team owned them around $10million, while BWT claimed that their sponsorship deal was really "just a loan."  The team went into receivership, and was quickly snapped up by a group of five deep-pockets, led by Pleasant Stroll's daddy and the billionaire father of GP3 driver and FI's test driver, Nikita Mazepin.  I'm pretty sure I know what the driver lineup for Force India will be in 2019.

Okay, I'm tired.  More sometime soon.

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August 05, 2018

That Made Me Happy!

So I was wandering around the web earlier Saturday, just going where it took me, wound up reading  some of the Fluff for Warhammer 40K again.  I've discovered a WH40K writer/audiobook reader combination that I'm fascinated by of late (Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Jonathan Keeble and the Black Legion series), so I've been spending a lot of time in the 40K universe recently.  Fun to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there... and if I did, I expect it'd be a very short life with a very violent end.  That's just the way things are there.


Remember, these are the good guys.
Anyway, after reading more than I really ever wanted to know about the Necrons ("We're gonna need a bigger can opener..."), I somehow found myself reading about spaceflight, which took me to yootoob for some fun times watching booster-cam footage.  While doing that, I realized I had never seen good footage of a real "Korolev's Cross", just KSP-based versions.  So I went looking, and discovered something I didn't know existed.
As it turns out, Korolev is the B-side of a remix disc of Sputnik by Public Service Broadcasting.  Clearly it belongs on their album "The Race For Space", but it's not on mine.

What a great thing to discover on a day off: a new PSB song!

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July 30, 2018

Dredd

I have spoken of the 2012 movie Dredd before, about how I thought it captured the feel and texture of the Judge Dredd universe quite well.  My opinion on the film does need to be tempered by my lack of experience with the source material, but I've enough to realize that it done good.  Karl Urban in particular needs praise for his performance of the title character, particularly because he never takes off the iconic helmet during the film... when was the last time you saw a movie star do that?... and is still able to bring life to the role.  What I'm saying here is that if you like a good action film, or you're a fan of Judge Dredd, go watch it immediately.


However, that's not really why I'm here today.  Nope, today I'm here to expose y'all to the MUSIC from Dredd.  I never really noticed the music the times I've watched the film, but the soundtrack was pointed out to me by one of those "Everything Wrong" style yootoob viddys.  And brother, were they right to say that the music is great!
Now I can see how people may not like the industrial/krautrock/synth/whatever aesthetic of the music.  I can't define what genre it is, not really.  But then, I don't much care either: I just like the music.
A lot.
Enough that I've got the soundtrack lined up on Amazon for digital purchase, that's how much.
Okay everybody, enough music.  Go back to work now.

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July 26, 2018

Oh, Hey, Hungary Is This Weekend.

My least favorite circuit at a time where I'm really down on F1?  I'll monitor everything, if and when anything interesting happens I'll blog about it, but whew.


This may be disappointing to my two or three remaining F1 fans but I'm really toasty around the edges and can't work up the energy right now.  I love you all for sticking around, I really really do, and I hope you stick around forever.

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July 25, 2018

Note My Life

I'm still on mandatory overtime, and with Monday night spent at Best Buy bringing home Triela I'm running behind.  I was on the clock for 11 hours tonight, which leaves me with 5.5 hours of OT to do by 10pm Friday.


I've got a new gaming computer, and I haven't had a chance to actually DO anything with it yet!  I'm d/l'g Fallout 4 to the SSD, but that's a 25GB game... it's taking a while.

So... how's everybody over there?

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July 23, 2018

Step 3: See Step 1

The moment I expected, yet feared came Saturday.  In the afternoon I started my old computer, browsed around for a couple of hours, then watched Quals for the German Grand Prix, shutting it down as I did. I then took a nap.


Saturday night, I hit the power button on my computer and... nothing.  The hard drive just gave a rhythmic, constant, flashing light with no sign of life otherwise.  She had finally given up the ghost after doing her best for me.  Press F to pay respects.

So I spent the rest of Saturday night tearing down my computer setup, figuring out how to store the old computer until I can get around to beating the hard drive into a very small smear, the better to keep my info safe y'know?  Also accomplished was removing the old 19" 1440 x 900 monitor... over 12 years old would you believe... and putting the new 24" 1080p monitor in position.  And then I slept, ready to get the new computer in position and move up in the world.

This was duly accomplished around 4pm on Sunday.  Everything plugged in, everything ready, I hit the power button, and...

...nothing.  I tried another power cable.

...nothing.  My brand new computer was DOA out of the box.

A quick run to Best Buy got me an exchange for another, this time with free setup.  It only took an hour to accomplish this, an hour, two managers, two different salespeople, one customer service rep, and a sugar glider named Hugo.

I may be exaggerating part of that.

Monday rolls around, and after work I head back over to the BigBlueBox, getting there exactly on time for my appointment, and... I had to wait for a half-hour while two biddies who looked old enough to remember a time when the most complex computing device you could find was an abacus tried to understand what the tech was telling them... "power button is here on the side."

A quick demo of the new computer (it works!  it works!)  led to me loading it into the Duckmobile and driving home to Pond Central.  At which point, I was faced with some difficulty.  How do you get a 30 pound computer up a flight of stairs when you use a cane?  The answer is "slowly, step by step."  Carry the computer to the stairs, put it as many steps up as you can, go back to the car to get the cane, go up a couple of steps, lift the computer up another couple of steps, climb some more, repeat as many times as needed (five, in case you were wondering).

Just as an aside, at the time I returned to Pond Central, somewhere around 845pm or so, it was still in the mid-80s outside, with ridiculously high humidity, and no breeze whatsoever.  As a result, Your Hero was drenched in sweat when he got the computer inside.  Also exhausted: it had been a long day at work, and the whole "carrying things up stairs" gig was awkward.  And painful: a poorly placed foot as I was trying to maneuver the tower through the door to Pond Central resulted in rather a lot of ankle pain.  I'm hoping I didn't sprain it; we'll find that out tomorrow morning.

After taking a while to regenerate some action points, I found myself back where I had been Sunday evening: everything hooked up and just needing to hit the power button.  Filled with trepidation, this I did.

Everybody, say hello to Triela.  

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July 19, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: Germany 2018

Gotta hurry on this post... again... while my old computer works and my bodyhealth stays above "miserable".  Here's the track map for the home of the Grand Prix of Germany, Hockenheim:


Remember, we had no grand prix in Germany last year... in the rotating track thing that Germany has, the Nurburgring couldn't afford it.  So it's Hockenheim's turn again!  For the most part, it's inoffensive with a touch of "what used to be" nostalgia involved.  As I always mention, back in the old days, there used to be a ridiculously high-speed section that went blasting through a forest in a semi-oval that reached from Turn 2 to Turn 6 on the new map... totally breathtaking, ridiculously dangerous.  It's probably good that it's gone, but...

Here's the alleged broadcast schedule:
Saturday
Practice 3: 5a - 630a  live on ESPNews
Quals: 8a - 930a  live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Germany: 8a - 1030a  live on ESPN2

No promises on a F1U... if the race moves me to one, then there'll be one.  If not, there won't.  I'm working on it.  See you soon!

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July 16, 2018

Step 2: Get New Monitor

COMPLETE!  


I love Amazon Prime.  After realizing that I was going to need a new monitor for my new computer, I immediately went to the Retail Giant and ordered one.  It arrived today.  Now, I have a great relationship with the not-receptionist at work.  I tell her I've got packages coming, and she usually brings them to me once they show up.

Not today.  Today, Amazon shipped the monitor in a HUGE box lined with, I dunno, sheets of lead disguised to look like crumpled paper.  The thing weighed a whole bunch... not as much as the computer, true, but still a whole bunch.  Too much, considering the monitor itself is allegedly only nine pounds.  

I'm terrified it's too big for the available space.  I know I've got the room... my measurements confirmed it... but it still feels too large.

Unfortunately, I don't know when I'm going to get to set up and go!  I've got 9.5 hours of OT to do in the next four days.  That means late nights at work and dear god the Windows setup process is... well, you know.

But it's here!  And who knows, maybe I'll get the flu or something.

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July 15, 2018

Step 1: Get New Computer

COMPLETE!


I'll admit the name "Inspiron 5676" does nothing to make the heart beat a little faster but that's okay, I take medicines to prevent that from happening anyway.  It's what's inside that counts, and the new 2nd Generation Ryzen 7 2700X is AMD's top-of-the-line processor.  It has a 1TB hard-drive, but it also has a 256GB SSD, which I'm told is important these days. That's all matched up with a Radeon RX580 graphics card, which is ATI AMD's best card that isn't in "ludicrous" territory.

So what I'm saying is that this girl should be quite the performer!  I'd have it hooked up already except for one little thing.  That is, it only has a HDMI port to hook up a monitor and my current monitor, which is 10 years old, only has DVI.  I knew this ahead of time though, and ordered a ViewSonic 24" monitor beforehand... it'll be delivered on Monday, and THEN I can get it all set up.

Darn thing weighs about 1573 pounds, though.

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July 12, 2018

Random Anime Pictures #146: SCIENCE!!!

-Cells At Work, Ep01
Who knew anime could be so educational?  Cells At Work is all about the stuff inside our body, anthropomorphized.  Which sounds like the most boring thing ever... who needs a boring biology class when you're watching Japanese cartoons?

Note: boring biology stuff
The simple answer is "you do."  The first episode was entertaining as hell, and if the series keeps up like this... well.  That would be a good thing indeed.  Just be prepared for some strange looks if you try and explain it.

I mean, our main character is a red blood cell.  That wears jean shorts and a cabbie hat.  What's not to love?

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July 09, 2018

Let Me Explain...

I'm tired.  I've been on a month of mandatory 50-hour weeks and it's been wearing on me.  Okay, I guess I didn't work 50 hours last week, but since I DID have to work on a national holiday, that makes up for it.  So I'm getting home from work late, I've been sleeping poorly, and quite honestly the atmosphere at work is... dark.


Of course, I've also got computer problems of late, but the thought of going to BigBlueBox to buy a new one is... exhausting.  It's always very loud there and it makes me sad to see what's happened to this company that I used to work for.

And to be blunt, I'm not enjoying Formula 1 very much.  Oh, this race at Silverstone was actually pretty decent, but even that felt more like a chore than an experience.  

You guys have any requests?  I'm willing if its something that'll kick-start my brain.  Gimme an idea!

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July 08, 2018

Computer Issues

Well, my computer, purchased in 2013, is showing signs that it'll be passing away soon.  Last night it refused to boot, in a manner that I've seen it do before, that indicates the hard drive is failing.  While I've managed to get on now, I may not be able to later.  So if there's no sign of me for a day or two, that's why.  F1Update! may be unavoidably delayed.


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July 07, 2018

F1 Quals: Britain 2018

A sunny day greeted the assembled tea-drinkin' hordes at Silverstone today, and with it came even hotter track temperatures than we had last week... remember, the race that saw tires blistering after only a few laps?  As a result of the nearly 130ºF surface temps, times were a little slower than expected today... how got effected?  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Britain:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.818 1:26.256 1:25.892
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.585 1:26.372 1:25.936
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:27.549 1:26.483 1:25.990
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:27.025 1:26.413 1:26.217
5 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:27.309 1:27.013 1:26.602
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:27.979 1:27.369 1:27.099
7 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:28.143 1:27.730 1:27.244
8 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:28.086 1:27.522 1:27.455
9 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:27.962 1:27.790 1:27.879
10 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:28.279 1:27.843 1:28.194
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:28.017 1:27.901
12 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:28.210 1:27.928
13 Meatloaf Alonso McLaren Renault 1:28.187 1:28.139
14 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:28.399 1:28.343
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:28.249 1:28.391
16 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:28.456

17 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:29.096

18 Sergey,  Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:29.252

NC Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes DNF


Nobody, really... or everybody equally.  Take your pick.  What we got was a Quals session that saw the Lewis Hamilton take pole by 44/1000ths of a second, and the top three covered by just a touch more than 1/10th of a second.  Easily the closest quals we've had all year.

Sadly, Pleasant Stroll beached himself in after only a few minutes in Q1 and didn't finish a lap.  Similarly, Brendan Hartley missed out on Quals altogether after a rather brutal high-speed accident in Practice 3 when his front suspension snapped under braking.  He's okay, but Toro Rosso couldn't repair the car in time.  

Teams are saying that a two-stopper is quite possible because of the heat, so we might have some interesting times tomorrow.  F1U! sometime afterwards... having dinner with Vaucaunson's Duck...  so see you then!

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Farming Seems Pretty Metal!

While you're waiting for me to get off my tucus and post the F1 Quals results, here's something for you to watch.


Ben, your thoughts?  Because to me, it looks like farming is straight out of Warhammer 40K.

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July 05, 2018

F1 on... Somewhere: Great Britain 2018

The reason for the title will be understood soon enough.  Before that, though... it's SILVERSTONE!  


I know I'm not alone in disliking the new layout for this iconic track... essentially it ran from turn 1 to turn 7 directly (more or less).  Also the start-finish line was between Turns 8 and 9.  I guess the new pit facilities and grandstands are pretty darn amazing, so... yeah.   Oh, also: there's going to be a third DRS zone, which Formula1.com's maps don't show.  Whoops.

In any case, it's fast, it's grippy, the Maggots-Becketts-Copse complex is my favorite sequence of turns in F1, and since the whole place is built on a plateau and has its own microclimate, rain is always a possibility.  Let's hope!

Now for the bad news.  This is the point where I'd normally list out the broadcast schedule for the weekend, but I can't do that right now.  I have three sources for times/channels, and the only thing they agree upon is times.  What channel anything is going to be on is up in the air over here at Pond Central... to the point where Quals actually MOVED CHANNELS as I programmed it into my DVR.  So check your local schedule for your own set of times.  I can confirm that Quals is on Saturday and the Race is on Sunday.  So you've got that going for you.  Which is nice.

See ya soon!

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July 03, 2018

There Are Times...

Holiday!  I was really looking forward to having the day off tomorrow, relaxing a bit, setting up my photo studio, taking a few pictures of figures, eating hot dogs, watching baseball, and just generally being American on the 4th of July.  A good time!


So there I am today, hard at work, pushin' data through dem tubes, secure in the knowledge that while I had to put in 10 hours, it was going to be an easy 10 hours.  I'd already put in two with no hiccups, no worries, and a tasty ham samitch to boot.  Because a good ham samitch makes everything better, don'tchaknow?  All in all, a good plan for the day.  Better still, the last three or four hours would almost certainly be spent alone in the room I'm currently residing in.  It's the smallest of the three workspaces, I was moved there back at the end of May because a new training class was taking over the old office... 25 people, would you believe?  Anyway, I'd be alone in my office, and perhaps the entire building come to that... people want to leave early when there's a holiday involved, go figure.  Anyway, why does that matter to me?  Because it lets me sing!
I forgot just how dark "Shattered Dreams" was, really.  Although if you were a wrestling fan during the WWF's "Attitude" era, shattered dreams brings something else altogether to mind.  Anyway, yes, singing is fun to do at work when there's nobody around.
I don't sing that one though.  A little out of my vocal range, really.  I first heard this song as the backing music for a gameplay video and liked it a lot more than the game.  Yes, it's another entry in the "electropop + random female singer" genre, but it's better than most.  At least I like it.
Heavy rotation on the mp3 player.  Don't sing this one either... it tends to generate a lump in my throat and tears to form in my eyes.  I'm a soft-hearted sap of a duck, what can I say?  Also, hey look fireworks!  It's a July 4th reference!  *ahem*

So yeah, singing at work.  I was looking forward to that, maybe break out Straight Outta Hidamari.  Good times, good times.  And then the data... stopped.  The part that serves me claims fell over.  No biggie, that happens.  Except it stayed down.  A few minutes turned into 15, then 30, then a hour... and the boss sent out the e-mail: we don't know when it's coming back, clock out, you have to make up any time missed by the end of the week or you lose your holiday pay AND get two absence points.

I sat there feeling like I had been hit in the face with a lobster.  Make up the unfinished time?  Five hours for the incomplete regular day, plus two to cover part of the eight hours of OT we have to do... SEVEN HOURS???  All of a sudden, my midweek holiday had gone from a day of relaxation to... well, a normal work day.  Oh crepe.  By no fault of my own.  After waiting for another hour (off the clock) hoping the program would start working again, I went home... but not before stopping at the boss's office.  "I'm taking off... is anybody going to text us if the system is still down in the morning?"  Don't know, this is all happening fast.  "Great.  Well, if I don't see you here tomorrow, have a great 4th of July holiday off."  And I walked out.

For all my fellow Americans, enjoy your 4th of July holiday with grilled meat and explosives!  For everybody else, have a good Wednesday!

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July 02, 2018

F1 Update!: Austria 2018

The skies above the Osterreichring A1-Ring Red Bull Ring were clear for the first time all weekend when the Thundering Herd made its way to the grid.  While this made for a pretty view, it also meant that the surface of the track was experiencing something for the first time all weekend: heat.  The asphalt was nearly 120º F under the blazing sun, and the teams were glancing nervously at their tires.  Would the race be affected?  Would the softest compound tires turn into rubber-flavored ice cream?  Who would benefit?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2018 Grand Prix of Austria.


*LIGHTS OUT: While the start was frantic, by the end of the first lap it turned out to be a lot of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.  Polesitter Valterri Bottas, who earlier had said that you had to really screw up your start to lose places in the short run to the first turn, proceeded to screw up his start and lose places.  He was shuffled down to fourth, but when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's DH Verstappen squabbled amongst themselves for second, Bottas basically said "you guys have fun, I've got a race to win" and took the place for himself.  That he settled in behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton was... ominous, however.  It very much looked like a Mercedes 1-2 snoozefest was in the works.

*OR... NOT!:  We here at F1U! thought the heat would bother more than just tires today, wondering among ourselves if the cars would have problems too.  The Renault of Nico Hulkenberg potentially made us look like geniuses when he pulled over on Lap 10, smoke and flame blowing out the back of his car.  He took care to put it somewhere far off track so there was no safety car needed.  No, that little gift occurred just two laps after Hulkenberg toasted marshmallows, when Bottas' Mercedes rolled to a stop with no hydraulic system to speak of.  Alas, he was unable to be as considerate as the Renault driver and the recovery process required a Virtual Safety Car to be called for.  And therein lies a tale.

*THROW IT AWAY:  The heat of the day had already thrown the strategists into something of a tizzy.  Before race day, a one-stop race was almost certainly in the offing.  Now, however, the starting tires were liquefying on the hot asphalt and nobody was quite sure how long they'd last.  Surprisingly, the calling of the VSC did not solve the problem: Lap 12 of a 71 lap race was too early to be sure of making a one-stopper.  Which didn't make a whit of difference: VSC means "free pitstop", almost as free as an actual safety car.  Everybody piled into the pit lane, Ferrari and Red Bull so eager to get onto new rubber that they double-stacked their cars... the second one had to wait for the first to be worked on before it could make its stop.  Fresh tires all around!  Except... um... well, Mercedes didn't bring in Lewis Hamilton from the lead.  The reason was simple: they took too long to figure out if they needed to.  By the time they made the call, he was already past pit-in.  By the time he made it back around to pit-in, the VSC had ended.  Hamilton still had the lead, clear of the pack by 12 seconds, but he still needed to stop.

*IT TAKES SOUR GRAPES TO MAKE A FINE WHINE: Clearly remembering the debacle of Australia, where Mercedes threw away a Hamilton win due to a VSC-based mistake, the reigning champion was on the radio asking how in the world the pit wall could screw up again.  His complaining got so bad that the team's strategist, James Vowles, got on the radio and said "I threw away the win, but you can still do what you can."  The team pitted their man around Lap 25.  He came out in 4th, just ahead of Seb Vettel's Ferrari, with the hardest compound of rubber on the hubs.

*REALLY?  WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT US TO DO?:  Of course, Hamilton hated the new tires.  He couldn't get any pace with them, they didn't feel right, they were blistering (this one was probably true: we haven't seen that many blisters since the last  time we went to the beach) they were too round, etc etc etc.  Eventually, they brought him in for a new set of supersofts, we suspect as much to get him to shut up as to give him speed.  This time he came back out in 5th place, behind the Red Bull of Smiley Riccardio.  Who promptly pulled over with a gearbox full of metal shavings and neutrals.

*MEANWHILE:  Smiley's teammate, DH Verstappen, was in the lead by a handful of seconds over Kimi Raikkonen.  The Ferrari driver was slowly closing the gap though, as was Vettel to his teammate.Hamilton was a more distant 20 seconds back, but setting fast laps consistently.  Verstappen, though, seemed to be the only driver out there to NOT be having some sort of problem with his tires.

*REWHINE: And then Hamilton pulled over with what proved to be a fuel pressure problem.  All around Austria, dogs lifted their heads and looked towards the Red Bull Ring as his complaints became inaudible to human ears.  One can only expect that there's going to be many vacancies at the Mercedes team at Silverstone.

*THE REST OF THE WAY:  Hamilton's retirement had the pleasant side-effect of promoting the Haas of Lettuce Grosjean into 4th place, the best finish in the team's history.  Even better, DP Magnussen, his Haas teammate, was right behind him in 5th.... an amazing result for a team that's had some bad luck this season thus far.  But the race belonged to DH Verstappen, who didn't put a foot wrong the whole afternoon.  The twin Ferraris stayed close, and if the Dutchman had erred they would have been past him in a flash, but it never happened.  Here at F1U!, we're not overly fond of the kid, but credit where credit is due... he won this race on merit, it wasn't handed to him at all.  On an afternoon when everybody had tire problems due to the heat, Verstappen didn't... and he brought Red Bull their first victory at their home track.

*NEXT UP: Stop #3 on the triple-header is Silverstone, this coming weekend.  See ya then! 

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