November 02, 2008
*SO IT BEGINS: The crowd at Interlagos was in good voice today when the cameras went live for today’s Grand Prix of Brazil, and fervently behind their favorite son, Felipe Massa. Seven points behind in the Driver’s Championship and needing to win, the Ferrari driver was on pole and protected nicely by his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen.
His opponent, Lewis Hamilton, was fourth on the grid, on the dirty side of the track, with his biggest threat, HWMNBN, right behind him. The McLaren driver didn’t need to win the race, however, or even be on the podium. He just needed to finish 5th or better and it wouldn’t matter what
On this day, for the premiere Championship in motor sports, nobody else on the grid mattered except how they’d hinder the progress of the two challengers on their way to the checkered flag.
The Gods of Auto Racing, though… they mattered.
*TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Ten minutes before the race was to start, the Legendary Announce Team for SPEED Channel’s coverage threw it to commercial. It was bright and sunny. Three minutes later, when they came back from commercial, we were told that the start of the race would be aborted for ten minutes. During the break, a massive cloudburst had drenched the Autodromo Juan Carlos Pace, and while it had stopped and didn’t look to start again anytime soon, it had been torrential enough to force the teams to change tires on the grid. As tires had to be in place on the cars three minutes before the recon lap begins and the storm hit at about five minutes before, the race stewards called the aborted start in the name of safety.
This caused a flurry of activity amongst the teams and drivers as they tried to figure out what to do. The track was wet, yes, but the sun was back out and shining brightly. Throw in the thundering progress of twenty sets of tires over the asphalt, and a dry line would emerge very quickly… but would it be quickly enough to run drys, or should they put on Intermediates? In the end, everybody chose to go safe and put on the Inters.
A good thing, too. There was a small, swift river flowing from Turn 2 down towards Turn 3, and indeed, this part of the track would never truly dry out during the course of the race. The rest of the circuit was soggy, but even after the recon lap you could see a definite dry line forming. The 20 cars made the lap around uneventfully, but BMW’s Robert Kubica dove into the pits at the end, either for mechanical issues or a different set of tires.
*LIGHTS OUT: From the start Felipe Massa, showing the
mastery one would expect of a driver at his home track (literally; he lived 300
yards from the fence surrounding the circuit), rocketed off the line. Indeed, it was a good start for everybody in
the first few grid rows. Renault’s
David Coulthard’s Chin, driving in his last race in F1, got
bumped by the Williams of Nico Rosberg and spun out. For a brief instant, it looked like he was
going to get away with it without anything more than a few lost places. Alas, he was then run over by the OTHER
Williams of Kazoo Nakajima who had no place to go but into The Chin’s
suspension. His long career in F1 came
to an end in the first turn of his last race.
He later said to Peter “Smarmy”
Nelson Piquet Jr, driving in front of his home fans, wound up backwards in the gravel trap between Turns 1 and 2, his car broken in some manner that the cameras either didn’t catch or SPEED didn’t choose to replay. Those two were the only retirees from the race.
Once the racing line dried enough to switch to dry tires,
the racers began to make their way into the pits, beginning with Robert Kubica
from 17th, and generally working its way up the field from there. At the end of this round of pit stops, the
And that’s the way it stayed for the next hour and change.
EVERYTHING, PART II: With around 15
laps to go, we got to hear a snippet of radio communication from the pit wall
to HWMNBN: “Rain expected in 10 minutes,” or about four laps remaining. At that moment, the top of the field was
The rain actually began to fall with six laps or so
remaining. Those at the back of the
field again set the tone for the rest of the bunch, starting with BMW’s Grizzly
Nick Heidfeld. Being out of the points,
they had nothing to lose by stopping and switching to wet-weather shoes. With four laps remaining, everybody had
stopped for rain tires… except for Timo Glock.
If the rain stopped, or stayed low-intensity, he was going to get a
podium easily, perhaps as high as second.
When everybody was done getting galoshes, the standings were
Sebastian Vettel, winner of the wet race at
What was most amazing was that Vettel began to pull away
And then the Gods of Auto Racing cleared their throats.
*THE END OF A DREAM: In his
On Turn 14, the gentle high-speed left handed blow leading towards the Pit-In, all of Timo Glock’s efforts and flop sweat came to naught as he skidded and wobbled and nearly lost the car altogether. What he did lose, however, was whatever momentum he may have had.
Vettel and Hamilton swept past his floundering
Meanwhile, Felipe Massa was taking his victory lap and being
told by his pit wall that he’d won the Driver’s Championship, unaware of the
events occurring on the other side of the track. The FIA’s cameras caught the exact moment in
the jubilant Ferrari pits when
The 2008 Season had come to an incredible, unbelievable end.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Sebastian Vettel challenged the World Champion in an inferior car in wet weather... and beat him, nearly stripping the championship from his hands in the process. Yeah, that gets a DotR award.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: Ferrari gets a consolation prize by winning the Constructor's Championship and the race. There's never been a team more crushed by a victory.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: It was the most important pass of Lewis Hamilton's young career, his pass of a wallowing Timo Glock. It wasn't challenging in any way, but it was still the MotR.
*MOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: Ferrari's celebration of their Driver's Championship before the race was over. Wow, that's gotta hurt.
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:
"The hole is in front of the tree....the bunny comes up through the hole, around the tree and down the hole again." - Felipe Massa
"The pain, the shaaaaaame." - HWMNBN
"Our revels now are ended. These our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air. And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff as dreams are made of on, and our little life is mrmrblm mrmrblrbrmm rmrlblrrmllb." - Kimi Raikkonen
"Great fun!" - Sebastian Vettel
"It's hard to put into words. I'm speechless. Sebastian got past me and I was told that I had to get back in front of him. I couldn’t believe it. Then at the very last corner I managed to get past Timo - it was just amazing. This was one of the toughest races of my life, if not the toughest. I was shouting, ‘Do I have it? Do I have it?’ on the radio. It was only when I took the chequered flag and got to Turn One that the team told me I was world champion. I was ecstatic." - Lewis Hamilton (note: real quote)
"I was on dry tyres at the end of the race when it was raining quite badly and it was just impossible on the last lap. I was fighting as hard as I could but it was so difficult to just keep the car on the track and I lost positions right at the end of the lap. Now Ferrari is going to have me capped, I just know it." - Timo Glock (note: real quote, except for that bit at the end)
"Next year, maybe I'll be the champion!" - Heikki Kovaleininninnie
"I got stuck behind Fisichella after switching to dry tires. Does that sound like a driver who qualified second to you?" - Jarno Trulli
"It's disappointing to finish ninth." - Mark Webber (note: real quote)
"Not a good race, but a good season. Fair trade." - Grizzly Nick Heidfeld
"Easy for you to say. YOU didn't lose third place in the Driver's Championship today, did you?" - Robert Kubica
"There's an angry Scotsman looking for a piece of my hide. When's the first flight out of Sao Paolo?" - Nico Rosberg
"Well, that year sucked, didn't it?" - Jenson Button
"I can has contract next year?" - SeaBass (note: no contract, not yours. He deserves one, he actually drove quite well this year, but when your teammate smokes you the way Vettel did... well, it doesn't look good)
"Next year in Melbourne!" - Rubens Barrichello
"Good finish for the season... at least I saw the checkered flag!" - Adrian Sutil (note: real quote)
"It looks like it was a great championship fight between Hamilton and Massa, my congratulations to Lewis." - Kazoo Nakajima (note: real quote)
"Meh." - Giancarlo Fisichella
"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Nelson Piquet Jr
"I’m pretty gutted, it’s not how I wanted to end my career. I took a cautious approach into Turn One and left plenty of space for the car on the inside, but unfortunately I think Rosberg hit me though Turn Two, which spun me round. I thought it would be okay, but then Nakajima ran into the front of my car and took off the front corner. I felt good on the warm up laps going to the grid, I had no problem with it being wet and I wanted to get to the chequered flag. I was going to do some donuts for the crowd, which is something you normally get fined for, but it didn’t work out. I can’t complain though, I’ve had a good career, so thank you to everyone who has supported me. Thank you also to the efforts of every member of the Red Bull Racing team for the last four years, which have been a lot of fun, I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future. I’ve been overwhelmed by the level of support I’ve had from the paddock this weekend, it means a great deal to me that so many people have taken the time to say ‘nice career and good luck with the future’. And, in the absence of a world championship, I think if I can leave with that, then that’s a good ending. In conclusion, I'd just like to say 'Pants.' Thank you.” - David Coulthard's Chin (note: real quote)
And so it ends... until next season. Congrats to Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari, and thank you for reading F1U!
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at November 02, 2008 09:10 PM (pfysU)
That's really a pity about DCC. Not the way you'd want to remember your last race.
I think the single best thing about this season is the way BMW-Sauber performed. Now it's a three-team competition, which is much more fun than just two.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 02, 2008 09:24 PM (+rSRq)
It's a tribute to my alltime favorite quote of his, where he called his entire race "pants, just bloody pants."
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 02, 2008 09:29 PM (hplPV)
First, BRAVO to Wonderduck for another outstanding season of F1 UPDATE!!! You're the best!!!
As for the race...wow. I felt so bad for Massa with victory snatched away the way it was. That was the saddest podium I've ever seen.
Was there any kind of ceremony at the track for Hamilton winning the championship?
Posted by: Mallory at November 03, 2008 07:50 AM (WJ2qy)
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