October 22, 2006
*MASSA VICTORIOUS, BUT ALONSO AND RENAULT WIN BIG: Showing that Kimi Raikonnen is only nominally going to be the #1 driver next year, Felipe Massa completely ran away with his home race, the first time a Brazillian driver (that's a lot of drivers!) has won in Sao Paolo since 1993... some guy named "Senna."
But Fernando Alonso ended up in second, meaning he has won the Driver's Championship twice in two years. Throw in Giancarlo Fisichella's sixth-place finish, and Renault locked up the Constructor's Championship to boot.
*SLAPPY DONE...: ...but not without a fight, and another patented 'Schumi Drive'. He started 10th, made it as high as sixth, suffered a tire failure that put him 70 seconds behind Massa, fought his way back up to FOURTH, and started to reel in third-place Jensen Button when he ran out of laps. And thus, a Legend ends his career, arguably the best ever.
INCONSISTENCY, THY NAME IS 'FIA': I quote from the FIA Sporting Regulations, Article 154: "After receiving the end-of-race signal all cars must proceed on the circuit directly to the post race parc ferme without stopping, without overtaking (unless clearly necessary), without receiving any object whatsoever and without any assistance (except that of the marshals if necessary)." After reading that carefully, we note that there are no exemptions for Brazillian flags (and that's a lot of flags!). Not to ruin a nice moment, but if you're going to penalize someone for (say) driving 100 meters in front of someone else and say they were 'blocking', shouldn't you penalize a driver for violating Article 154? Just asking.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: In lieu of any incredible performances in a race, we here at F1 UPDATE! reserve the right to give the TotR to whichever team it makes sense to give it to... and while it may pale in comparison to the Constructor's Championship, we believe Renault should get the TotR award for removing their hands from their throats and making it through the season. Well done, lads, and congratulations.
*DRIVE OF THE RACE: We're torn. Clearly Slappy's day deserves this award, but we would also like to note that Takuma Sato ended up in 10th, and it was no fluke as he turned in the 9th fastest lap of the day (and Sakon Yamamoto did the 7th fastest). Congrats Parky, but we're more impressed by a team's first top-10 finish than your eleventh 4th place finish (which is a pretty amazing stat, if you think about it).
*MOVE OF THE RACE: Not to seem like we're 'All Slappy, all the time' this week, but this goes to Schumi as well. We just can't choose between moves: either his pass of Giancarlo Fisichella on lap 8/9, where he got pushed almost entirely off the track at turn one (with plenty of clearance between their cars... at least two sheets of paper worth), or his pass of Raikkonen on lap 69, where he just up and muscled through for fourth. Either one is a worthy candidate for the Move of the Race!
*MOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the incidents that remind us that F1 drivers are human, and sometimes even below that, when they're in the cockpit, the Mooooooo-oove of the Race goes to that manuever that are most bovine in their hamhandedness (if we may juxtapose meats). There's no question about this one, folks. There's nothing we like better than seeing two teammates taking each other off, and that happened today with the Williams boys on lap 1. Nico Rosberg ran into the back of Mark Webber, taking the rear wing off of Webbo and losing his own nose in the process. Webber managed to make it back to the pits, where he retired from the race. Rosberg, on the other hand, tried to drive at speed back to the pit lane, and almost made it. However, he wound up losing control going into the last turn where his crash (a contender for 'wreck of the year') ended up bringing out a safety car and strewing carbon shards across the track... which would prove damaging to Schumi's thin championship hopes eight laps later. Well done, lads!
*QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...
October 08, 2006
"First I get a slow leak in a tire, then Michael's engine blows... something's fishy here, and we're going to get the FIA to investigate Renault because of it." - Felipe Massa (editor's note: hey, you KNOW they want to...).
"Ciao, Tonino. (weeps)" - Giancarlo Fisichella (editor's note: for what it's worth, F1 UPDATE! sends our condolences).
"I'm reasonably pleased with my fourth place here today." - Jensen Button. (note: real quote. Gee, ya think, Button?)
"Mmbrmbrmbl mmlblblmmlb mbblmrmrbml bmmlrrlrbm." - Kimi Raikkonen.
"Who'd think that we'd get 12 laps out of a pint of fuel? How else do you think we got on the 2nd row? Also, my hair looks fab." - Jarno Trulli.
"Jarno managed to get ahead of me on his new tyres and from then on I spent most of the day following him around the track. Chugga-chugga-chugga-whoo-whoooooooo!!!" - Ralf Schumacher. (note: real quote, except for the train sounds)
"My race was unspectacular." - Nick Heidfeld. (note: real quote. We can't make this up, folks.)
"AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEoh wait, I recovered. Nevermind." - Robert Kubica.
"Rookie of the year, right here! That's me. Rookie. Of. The. Year! Also, I'm good looking, rich and have great hair." - Nico (Wonderboy) Rosberg.
"Remember last year, when we were good? Yeah, good times, good times..." - Pete Rose.
"*glug glug glug glug* Ahhhhhhhh. *Ka-pshop* *glug glug glug glug*" - Rubens Barrichello.
â€œIt ended up being quite lonely on the race track this afternoon. My heart is cryin',cryin' / Lonely teardrops / My pillows never dry of / Lonely teardrops / Come home, come home / Just say you will, say you will (say you will) / Say you will (say you will) / Hey, hey (say you will)..." - Robert Doorknob (and the RedBulls).
"*snapping fingers to the beat*" - Vitantonio Liuzzi.
"This is an absolutely fantastic result for the team - we could not have asked for anything more. It's good to be a Japanese F1 driver in Japan... I've finished 15th, and I'm getting more camera time than Felipe Massa. And every grid girl is going home with me tonight." - Takuma Sato, National Hero.
"I can't believe I'm behind Sato." - Tiago Montiero.
"I can't wait to drive Suzuka in F1 next year! It'll be great!" - Sakon Yamamoto. (someone really should tell him...)
"Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Spins are FUN!" - American Scott Speed.
"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Mark Webber.
"Now we are nine points behind in the Constructorsâ€™ classification and we will do all we can to win this title in Brazil. As for the Drivers,â€™ it is lost. I donâ€™t want to head off for a race, hoping that my rival has to retire. That is not the way in which I want to win the title. Which is, I'll point out, how Fernando Alonso just won it, so *sizzle* you just got faced, Alonso." - Slappy Schumacher. (note: real quote)
"We were racing the Spyker team for most of the race. Pants." - David Coulthard's Chin. (note: he retired after he lost 4th gear, in case you were wondering... SPEED never told us.)
"The team will investigate what happened to cause my retirement." - Christijan Albers. (note: real quote. Dude, the rear of your car disintegrated when a shaft broke free. THAT'S what happened to cause your retirement.)
Well, that's the end of our coverage of Suzuka. Two weeks until Brazil and the end of the season!
October 07, 2006
*SIX YEARS...: The last time Michael Schumacher had an engine failure was in 2000. Today, his first failure in 100+ races has probably cost him his eighth world championship. He was leading the race, with a good six second lead over 'Nando and pitstops completed, and ka-blammo! Have a nice retirement.
*TWO IN A ROW: It's going to take a miracle for Alonso to LOSE the championship now. For it to happen, Schumacher has to win Brazil, and Alonso has to earn no points. I just can't imagine that happening... but the results of today's race shows that just about anything CAN happen in a F1 race.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. First and third, a nine point lead in the Constructor's Championship, and a 10 point lead in the Driver's. It took a failure in the bulletproof Ferrari engine for it to happen, but they had a good race; can't keep that from them.
*DRIVE OF THE RACE: Takuma Sato, SuperAguri. Okay, yeah, 15th doesn't sound like much, but c'mon, this is SUPERAGURI we're talking about here. Nice job, Taku! Great to see ya on our screens again. (hat tip to Fuji TV's director)
*MOVE OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso had been stuck behind Ralf Schumacher for the first 11 laps of the race. He had better straight-line speed, but had to keep falling back in sectors 2 and 3. Going down the straightaway towards Turn 1, he got a nice tow from the Toyota. He then went right to the edge on braking, slipped inside Ralf, and just outpowered him thru the esses. Very slick, very tight, and very well done.
*MOOOOOOO-OVE OF THE RACE: In a clean race, it's often difficult to name a winner of the MOOOOOOO-OVE , but today is different. On lap 40, coming off the final turn, Mark Webber made an unforced error, getting (in his words) "two inches" into the grass, at which point he lost the car completely. By the time the car stopped moving (and Webbo stopped mooooooo-oving), the left side of his Williams was mostly missing, scraped down to the framework and both tires hanging on only by their tethers. Nicely done, Mark! HONORABLE MENTION goes to the Spyker mechanic that forgot to tighten down the restraining nuts on that crankshaft that wound up tearing the rear off of Christijan Albers' car in one of the more dramatic breakdowns we've seen in a while. It looked like the right rear of the car just disappeared... and he still managed to get it to the pits.
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE: will be posted later Sunday.
October 01, 2006
*IT'S HARD TO DRIVE...: with your hands firmly around your throat, and that's sure what it looked like was happening at Renault today. Alonso's mysterious loss of speed (or "conserving his tires" as an unnamed Renault pitcrew member told Peter "Smarmy" Windsor), the right-rear screwup during the pitstop, even the failure of the monitors on the Renault team wall... all indicators of a team choking under the pressure. And what was that display on the podium? They couldn't even catch the champagne bottle that Alonso dropped to them!
*THAT GUY IS GONNA LEAD FERRARI?: I wonder if Luca diMontzemelo is wondering if he can talk Schumi out of retirement? Where the heck was Felipe Massa all weekend?
*TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. Yes, we know we branded them as chokers at the start of this F1 UPDATE!, and we stand by that. However, they still had both drivers on the podium, and took the lead back in the Constructor's Championship. Credit where credit is due.
*DRIVE OF THE RACE: Michael Schumacher. He didn't have a chance in hell of winning this one. The weather was wrong for his tires. He was too far back on the grid. He's never had any success on this track. So all he did was pull out a drive that should have made your eyes water. No question, hands down, the best drive of the day and possibly the season.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: Jensen Button. Last lap of the race, he had already lost a spot due to a slight bobble and was staring at a 7th place finish. Then the 'gang of four' came up on Takuma Sato. Zip! Button dives off the dry line, sticks Heidfeld on a spit behind 'Suicide' Sato, and manages to keep the car pointing the right way despite worn tires and wet track. HONORABLE MENTION goes to a half-dozen others for a ton of impressive passes during the race, too many to list.
*MOOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the asinine, the NASCAR, the bovine in every F1 driver, the Moooooo-oove goes to the worst manuever of the race. We're considering changing the name of this to the Takuma Sato Memorial Award, as he's won this wayyyy too often, and today is no exception. While it allowed Button to earn his Move of the Race award, Taku's moo-ing and lowing on the last lap caused the only accident of the race and got him 'excluded' from the results. Lovely job, Taku!
*QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...
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