July 22, 2007
*RAIN... THE GREAT EQUALIZER: When the red lights went out, the track was dry and the sun was shining. By the time the cars made the first turn, the sun was gone. By the halfway point of the first lap, the scene looked like this:
All bets were off, as were most of the cars... seven slid off in quick succession, including four at the same corner, all in a row.
And Marcus Winklehock, making his first F1 start ever, in the worst car on the track (but the only one on wet tires), suddenly had a 30 second lead on the field!
Then you had a massive dive for the pit lane by, oh, just about every car still on track, nearly resulting in a pileup of monumental proportions.
Finally, after a safety car on lap 3, somebody in the FIA realized that while what was occurring on the Nurb Jr track was incredibly entertaining, it was also not auto racing. Auto SWIMMING, perhaps, but not racing, so they ran out the red flag, stopping the race for 15 minutes. Immediately upon deployment of said flag, the rain stopped. Upon the restart, the safety car stayed out for three laps, meaning that Marcus Winklehock, driving for Spyker, led the race for seven laps... becoming the first for the pathetic Dutch team to even run in the top eight at ANY time in their history.
Yup, it was that sort of day.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: David Coulthard's Chin started 20th after a flat-out miserable qualifying (that he blamed on his teammate, for blocking him on his hotlap). After the aforementioned Benny Hill start and a furious drive through the field, The Chin brought his car home in 5th, making up 15 places. Well done, DC'sC!
*TEAM OF THE RACE: RedBull. The Chin was 5th. Mark Webber was on the podium in 3rd. This was the best performance by the Red Bull team in a race ever... how could they NOT earn TotR?
*MOVE OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso was in 2nd, about 15 seconds behind with 10 laps to go, and satisfied with his position.
Then the rains came back.
Within three laps (and one pitstop for intermediate tires), he was all over Felipe Massa's Ferrari, doing everything he could think of to pass him for the lead. On Lap 56 he blocked Alonso into Turn 1, slid outside to keep the door closed into Turn 2, and Alonso tried going outside in Turn 3 but couldn't quite keep his McLaren stable. In the downhill section between the Sachs and Ford Kurves, Alonso got a good run on the inside and Massa squeezed him hard. The two banged, Alonso's left sidepod to Massa's front right tire. The damage was minor, but Massa lost a smidge of momentum when the Ferrari staggered slightly. This allowed the McLaren to take the lead, and the win a few laps later. A sweet pass indeed, and our Move of the Race!
*MOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: There is no question that rain makes all drivers release their inner bovines, but this is ridiculous!
So to Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil, Scott Speed, Lewis Hamilton, and Vitantonio Liuzzi, we give the first five-way Mooooo-oove. You're our heroes.
"I'll give you 'sorry', you sunnuva---" - Felipe Massa
"Oooh, a nice roundhouse from Massa, but Alonso comes back with a jab to the ribs..." - Mark Webber
"Grarrr! Wurz ALMOST on podium." - Manmountain Wurz
"Well, that was quite the odd little race." - David Coulthard's Chin
"Kubica made me spin. No more beard-touching for him." - Grizzly Nick Heidfeld
"Heidfeld spun me out. I don't want to touch his beard again." - Robert Kubica
"Sometimes when you gamble, you lose. I lost today." - Heikki Kovelainineineninnie (note: with the rain predicted to come in the late laps of the race, Renault brought Kovelainineineninnie in for wet tires. Unfortunately, the rain held off just long enough for his tires to rip themselves to shreds, negating any advantage he'd have when the rain did come. It would have paid off big if it had worked, and Renault deserves a tip o' the cap for trying it.)
"Oh. So this is what it looks like when you're not on the podium." - Lewis Hamilton
"Um... feh?" - Giancarlo Fisichella
"Well, THAT sucked. Maybe I'll start drinking DURING the race." - Rubens Barrichello
"It was the kind of race where I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong decision at the wrong moments. Kind of like my entire career, actually." - Jarno Trulli
"mrmmbl mrmbll mrmmmblblblb mrm Schumacher mrmmblbll fuel pfeh." - Kimi Raikkonen
"It was great fun at the start of the race having to run in the rain on the dry tyre." - Takuma Sato (note: Takuma also thinks that shoving bamboo shoots under his fingernails is fun, as well)
"Oops." - Ralf Schumacher
"To lead a Formula One race is something nobody can take away from you - you have it for your whole life. I am really happy about it - I was leading my home Grand Prix! Then I suddenly realized that I was driving a Spyker, and my car caught fire, and tomorrow I'm going to be back at the Hamburg McDonalds, and my life is miserable." - Marcus Winklehock
"A" -Jenson Button
"I" - Adrian Sutil
"E" - Nico Rosberg
"E" - Scott Speed
"E!!!!!" - Vitantonio Liuzzi
F1 in the rain 4TW! See you in Hungary, two weeks from now!
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 22, 2007 10:57 AM (+rSRq)
Alonso to Massa during Peter Smarmy's post-race interview: "I apol-o-yize. Heh heh."
Apologies don't get more sincere than that - lol.
(What do you suppose those two were saying to each other on their way to the podium????)
Posted by: Mallory at July 22, 2007 11:21 AM (Bc7do)
Oh and another nominee for move of the race I would suggest should be the safety car driver. If you look at the footage of Liuzzi going off, the safety car driver is waiting for the leader, when he suddenly spots Liuzzi sliding backwards towards him at very high speed, and gunned it, getting out of the way just in time. Could have been rather nasty.
Great race, and great update
Posted by: flotsky at July 22, 2007 12:48 PM (/n2FK)
And then the Toro Rosso enters the picture.
Backwards. At 100mph. And goes right through where the safety car had been a moment before. Eep.
Mallory, I actually prefered the one during Massa's part of the Q&A session. Massa was recapping his view of the incident, and you hear, very quietly, "I ap-lo-gyze"... but Alonso had this big ol' (pardon le French) shit-eating grin on his face. Hmmmmm...
Steven, the rain was pretty heavy, but the worst part was that nobody (save Wincklehock) was prepared for it. Usually the teams know when it's going to rain and have a chance to bring their cars in for galoshes, but this happened at just the wrong moment.
A few minutes earlier, like when they were still sitting on the grid, and the drivers could have made their way around the track at a dead crawl. A few moments later, and the cars would have been a lot nearer the pits (and on the uphill portion of the course).
Instead, the cars were headed downhill (and the Nurb Jr. has one of, if not THE, steepest run downhill in F1), and all the water from the downpour was cascading down the track. I'm kinda surprised there weren't MORE cars in the kittylitter.
My favorite part of that first picture, though, is the fact that there are THREE cars in it... one of them is 90% obscured by Massa's tire spray. I didn't even notice it until after I got the post up.
Posted by: Wonderduck at July 22, 2007 05:17 PM (7MeZM)
If all those guys were running slicks, it's no wonder they were slipping and sliding around as if the place was covered in ice. Hydroplane city, especially with that much water on the pavement!
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 22, 2007 07:09 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Wonderduck at July 23, 2007 12:53 AM (2nDll)
Posted by: HC at July 23, 2007 10:46 PM (V+5Zy)
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