October 07, 2007
*WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?: That's what Lewis Hamilton had to be thinking as he sat on the grid, waiting for the lights to go out. The McLaren has been a brick all season, never retiring due to mechanical failure. It was the fastest chassis. And he was the best driver in the field. No sweat. Even the rain wouldn't've worried him overmuch; didn't he win the GP of Japan in rain a lot worse than the drizzle falling now? When the lights went out, he rocketed away and dominated the field. His 'teammate' was pinned behind both Ferraris. He didn't even worry when the rain stopped; yeah, he was on intermediate tires, but Race Control was saying the rain would start again in a few minutes. But it didn't. The first round of pitstops was for fuel only; both McLaren and Ferrari sent their cars back out on worn tires. This is not as big a deal as you might think; when intermediates wear down, they go smooth, like slicks. Yes, if it starts to rain, they're useless, but Race Control had decided that it wouldn't rain again for a while...
...then it does, on lap 27. By now, Hamilton's tires are in pathetic shape, completely bald, but he's dicing with Kimi: no chance to come in, particularly when an accident right at the pit-in prevents any entry. Now he's turning laps 10 seconds slower than the field, and you can SEE a hole worn away in his left-rear tire... no rubber left, at that spot on the tire, he's driving on the canvas backing. If he's fortunate, he'll make the pits. But this is Lewis Hamilton, the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Somehow, he coaxes his wounded car around the track, and drives into the pits... no chance of winning now, but he doesn't need to. All he has to do is finish within 2 points of HWMNBN, and he's the Driver's Champion...
...and he can't make the turn that leads from the pit-in to the pit lane. The tires have no grip whatsoever, so worn they are, and the pit lane is damp. He skitters off into the only gravel-trap on the circuit. A frantic bit of manuevering keeps him out of the tire barrier... but Lewis Hamilton has beached his car. The engine is still going, but he just digs himself in deeper. Track marshals try to push him out, but it's no use. Game over for Lewis Hamilton... a DNF at the worst possible time.
*WHAT'S THE BEST THAT COULD HAPPEN?: Even Kimi Raikkonen and HWMNBN had admitted that it would "take a miracle" for either of them to have a serious chance at winning the Driver's Championship. Still, they had to give it a shot... and sometimes you can teach the pig to sing. Today, the pig sang. Kimi won, HWMNBN finished second. There's now seven points separating Kimi from Hamilton, only FOUR between HWMNBN and his 'teammate'.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso. From goatse to hero in one week. Vettel, who crashed into his semi-teammate Mark Webber last week in Japan, when they were 2nd and 3rd, drove the race of his life today. With help from the oddball weather, he managed to pick up thirteen places over the course of the race and brought his car home in 4th... far and away the best finish for Toro Rosso ever. A great drive by a very young driver feeling the heat of his failure the previous race.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: Toro Rosso. We already know that Sebastian Vettel finished in 4th place. What's more amazing is that his teammate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, finished in 6th. Not only is this the best team finish for TR, but it jumps them ahead of Spyker, Honda, and SuperAguri in the Constructor's Championship... and THAT is worth big money from the FIA at the end of the season. Incidentally, we here at F1 UPDATE! can't remember the last season that every team on the grid scored points, but (if you count McLaren) that's what's occurred this year.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: On lap 26, HWMNBN got sick and tired of seeing the back end of Felipe Massa's Ferrari. He outran him down the back straight, held off braking on worn tires as late as possible, and pretty much kicked Massa in the teeth. Massa immediately dove for the pits, and never came close to challenging HWMNBN again. Not the best pass (that'd be Button's on Vettel around lap 35, for 4th), but one that might make the difference in the Driver's Championship.
*MOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: The booby prize for F1 drivers, the Mooooo-oove celebrates the mundane bovine in all who sit in the carbon-fiber miracle machines. Today's Mooooooooo-oove goes to Lewis Hamilton, who may have deep-sixed his Championship hopes by being unable to make the slowest turn on the track, then burrowing deep into the gravel. Well done, lad... well done.
*DRIVER'S QUOTES OF THE RACE:
"mrmrmbbl mrlmblblmbl mrlrrmbl rrmlblrml." - Kimi Raikkonen
"Serves the snotty punk right." - HWMNBN
"I used to be the #1 at Ferrari, now I'm reduced to hoping to block for my teammate. I wonder if Toyota needs a driver next year...?" - Felipe Massa
"WOOOHOOOO! YAAAAAHOOOOO! YEAHHHHH! WOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!" - Sebastian Vettel (note: real quote)
"I'm only happy when it rains..." - Jenson Button
"Sebastian, dude, chill... you blew out the pit wall's eardrums." - Vitantonio Liuzzi
"Hell, I dunno, make something up." - Grizzly Nick Heidfeld
"Tell Race Control that they don't have a career in meteorology." - David Coulthard's Chin (who got caught by the last drizzle right after changing to drys... and losing 12 seconds in two laps)
"I look like I'm 14, and sound like the Great Gazoo. At least I'm a F1 driver." - Heikki Kovelaeinninninnie
"Wait... what? Huh? Where?" - Mark Webber
"Never mind, leave me alone. I wonder if ProDrive needs a driver next year...?" - Giancarlo Fisichella
"I guess I was hoping for more rain today." - Man-mountain Wurz (note: real quote)
"Well, I didn't back up at the start, like I usually do." - Jarno Trulli
"Can we go back to Japan? I liked the grid girls..." - Takuma Sato
"Is this season over yet?" - Rubens Barrichello
"Can someone explain to me what happened out there? Please? Anybody?" - Nico Rosberg
"Four pitstops, and nothing was broken? Yeah, that's a recipe for success right there." - Sakon Yamamoto
"I found myself with no power steering and no gears. Other than that, things were great." - Robert Kubica
"aieeeeee." - Lewis Hamilton
"What is all this 'Dead Man Driving' I keep hearing?" - Ralf Schumacher
"AIEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Adrian Sutil
"The revenge of the return of the incredible porn-star break pedal. It kept getting longer and longer and longer..." - Ant Davidson
So we're faced with a Driver's Championship that is as close as any in the past 12 years, that will come down to the final race at Interlagos in Brazil. Who will win? Who will fall short? And whither Canada? Find out in two weeks, in the final race edition of F1 UPDATE! for 2007!
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 07, 2007 10:44 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Wonderduck at October 07, 2007 10:57 PM (AW3EJ)
Also, good update, and when did this place get so swanky? Sure it wasn't like this when I went away. Looking rather good, I have to say.
Posted by: flotsky at October 08, 2007 03:07 AM (6T2ID)
Big Papa Pixy sent the painters in earlier this week, Flotsky. Thanks for the kind words!
Posted by: Wonderduck at October 08, 2007 06:28 AM (UdB9M)
Holy you-know-what! Who'd have thought that would happen, except maybe The Teammate.
It will make the next race exciting, but I'd have rather seen Hamilton get the championship yesterday.
Love the new look of the site. :-)
Posted by: Mallory at October 08, 2007 06:48 AM (3sife)
Posted by: Ed Flinn at October 08, 2007 08:00 AM (RRq7w)
Posted by: madmike at October 08, 2007 08:52 AM (ZHoAZ)
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