September 09, 2007
*WHEN IS A PODIUM FINISH BAD?: When you lose 2nd place with 9 laps to go, and end up on the last step of the podium, that's when. The legendary bulletproof Ferrari is gone, replaced by a fragile beast that Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen don't fully trust. Massa retired his car on lap 10 after feeling "something wrong" with the rear, possibly the same thing that caused Kimi's accident in practice. Raikkonen looked tenetive and cautious all day, and cost him 2nd place. Ferrari's only hope for either championship now appears to be McLaren's total exclusion from the season.
*McLAREN DOMINANT: In contrast, McLaren's drivers took their cars and threw them around the track with total abandon, knowing that they could get away with it. The new curbs at Monza, so high and deep that some teams (Toyota and Ferrari in particular) avoided using them as much as possible, were mere bumps to McLaren. Throw in their raw straightaway speed and fantastic cornering abilities, and the Glare With Wheels just owned Ferrari's home track today... a low-downforce style of track that the Ferrari is supposedly designed for.
*DIRTY TRICKS: Just a few hours before racetime, the Italian police arrived at the McLaren paddock and informed Ron Dennis (team principal) and selected others that they were being investigated in regards to the Stepneygate scandal. Even though they've been there since Wednesday and could have served them at any time, they chose Sunday morning. Gee, think the Boys In Red had anything to do with that, maybe thinking that their rivals would be rattled?
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Kimi Raikkonen. Driving with an injured neck that prevented him from controlling his head movements in the turns and under braking, running a car that threw him into the wall for no reason (and caused his teammate to retire from the race), Raikkonen still managed to take 3rd place, and looked to take 2nd until late. All this while carrying a large load of fuel to run a 1-stop strategy. Not the 'charge from 22nd' style of drive, but still an impressive performance, and the lone bright spot for Ferrari this weekend.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: McLaren. Not just because they finished 1-2, with Alonso nearly a half-minute ahead of Raikkonen, but because of all the crap they've had to deal with this season. The Stewards slapped them with a horrible penalty in Hungary, they were fined after Turkey, they've got a sword dangling over their head, and their drivers want to kill each other... yet they're running away with both championships. Now THAT'S a performance.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: On lap 40, Lewis Hamilton stopped for the last time, exiting the pits behind Kimi Raikkonen, who was running a 1-stop strategy. He resumed the race some handful of seconds behind, and while it looked like he might be able to catch up in the 13 laps remaining, it'd take a miracle to get past him in the remaining time. THREE LAPS LATER, Hamilton was maybe 50 yards behind Raikkonen heading into turn one... too far back to make a move, surely. So Lewis tries it anyway, brakes about as late as humanly possible (and maybe beyond), and despite Kimi's attempt to block, still manages to sneak through and into 2nd place. Just a killer move, and possibly THE pass of the season, for all the importance riding on it. Honorable mention to Jensen Button and Nico Rosberg for their duel on lap 21, passing and repassing each other thru three turns.
*MOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating that which makes the best drivers in the world look like cud-crunching cows, the Moooooo-oove is an award given for the mistake that makes F1 look like the Three Stooges. Today's award is given, not to a driver, but to the front jackman of BMW-Sauber. On Robert Kubica's first stop from high in the standings, the jackman somehow managed to get his implement of destruction jammed under the nose. It took two men yanking on it, plus another three lifting the car, to get the jack free, costing Kubica 10 seconds extra and dropping him waaaaay back. That he was able to finish 5th is a miracle. Well done, un-named pitcrewman!
"Right, so I've only got a 3-point lead on Alonso now. No worries, hey? I'll just borrow Jean Todt's bandaids so I won't bite my nails any farther..." - Lewis Hamilton
"Mmrmrmrbbl mrblmmblbl mrmmmblb ow mrmblbbmm." - Kimi Raikkonen
"The least interesting 4th place ever." - Grizzly Nick Heidfeld
"It was my fault the car fell off the jack. Right. My fault. Sure." - Robert Kubica
"I object to all this sex on the television. I mean, I keep falling off!" - Nico Rosberg
"The dromedary has one hump, and a camel has a refreshment car, buffet and ticket collector." - Heikki Koveleianniennieninnie
"Another point! Look out, Super Aguri, here comes Honda!" - Jensen Button
"I think cement is more interesting than people think." - Mark Webber
"I won this race twice with Ferrari, you know. *sob*" - Rubens Barrichello
"Another bad start for me. All I do is go backwards at the start. Maybe if I don't start, I won't go backwards?" - Jarno Trulli
"I wonder if the Rome McDonalds is hiring..." - Giancarlo Fisichella
"I have a lot of power in my legs." - Alex (Man-Mountain) Wurz (note: real quote, as said to Peter Windsor in the pre-race grid walk. Windsor mentioned that he drove to the track that morning, and only barely was able to pass Wurz, who was biking in.)
"I'm very, very short. Did you know that?" - Ant Davidson
"There's no chance I'll hook on with another F1 team next year, is there?" - Ralf Schumacher
"I tried to warm up the car on the formation lap and then the front brakes caught fire when I got back to the grid and there was a lot of smoke, which I was really worried about. I didn’t have a good feeling about the brakes." - Takuma Sato (note: real quote. The master of understatement?)
"The thing about saying the wrong words is that A, I don't notice it, and B, sometimes orange water gibbon buck and plastic." - Vitantonio Liuzzi
"What's brown and sounds like a bell?" - Sebastian Vettel
"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, B-Spec is MUCH better. Just look at this performance!" - Adrian Sutil
"What he said." - Sakon Yamamoto
"*drumming fingers on table*" - Felipe Massa
"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - David Coulthard's Chin (note: impressive accident from DC'sC)
SO that's it's for Monza... but next weekend we have another of the classic tracks of F1, Spa-Francochaps. Stay tuned, and see you then!
Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 09, 2007 08:22 PM (N++ll)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 09, 2007 08:22 PM (N++ll)
(Yes, that was curious timing for McLaren to be visited by the police, wasn't it.)
Posted by: Mallory at September 10, 2007 01:02 AM (3sife)
Well, dung, but I'm missing the significance.
Posted by: Ed Flinn at September 10, 2007 01:43 AM (suTNB)
The one I feel sorry for is Hamilton.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 10, 2007 02:10 AM (+rSRq)
Steven, the Ferrari tifosi would probably disagree with you. "They know our fuel mileage, and our refueling stratigies... we're doomed, kick the bums out!"
Or something like that. Without knowing exactly what was in the 750 pages that a disgruntled Ferrari employee gave the McLaren designer, we have no way to judge WHAT they could know, and how they used it (if they did).
Personally, I agree with you... McLaren likely would have dominated this season without any help, particularly with Ferrari discovering that gremlins still exist.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 10, 2007 10:17 AM (M7kiy)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 10, 2007 10:30 AM (+rSRq)
No, you're absolutely correct, Steven. The thing you need to know is that Ferrari and McLaren flat-out despise each other, and have for many, many years.
They're also pretty much the two dominant teams in F1 history (though Williams would have a say in that, as well). There's a good chance that they don't CARE about the other teams' strategies, because they know they're all just racing for third in the constructor's championship anyway.
And, at least this season, that view is holding true: the other teams are nothing more than rolling chicanes for McLaren and Ferrari. Check out the constructor's standings:
McLaren - 166 (and that's after a 15 point penalty)
Ferrari - 143
BMW - 86
Renault - 38
Williams - 25
RedBull - 16
Toyota - 12
SuperAguri - 4
Honda - 2
Toro Rosso - 0
Spyker - 0 (but only because they can't do negative numbers)
I think the Legendary Announce Team mentioned that out of 39 podium positions this year, McLaren and Ferrari have 36.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 10, 2007 10:42 AM (M7kiy)
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