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.
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...
July 08, 2007
*THE ICEMAN COMETH: Two in a row, and first man to three wins, Kimi Raikkonen has hoisted himself back into the Driver's Championship. It's also the second race that he's won in the second round of pitstops, but it took some serious driving to pull it off. He stayed glued to Hamilton's tail in the first stint, who proved to be running on a light fuel load. When he couldn't pull away from Kimi, Lewis' chance to win disappeared. Alonso took the lead after the first round of stops, but only because McLaren short-fueled him... and HE couldn't get away from Kimi, either. Raikkonen pounded out four or five brutally fast laps after Alonso's stop, and came out a couple of seconds ahead after his 2nd stop... and the race was over. Ferrari brought the speed today, but Kimi really made it work.
*...WHA HOPPEN?: Lewis Hamilton should have been able to make this a good race. After the first pit rotation, though, he fell from first to third, and just disappeared. He seemed to be having problem adjusting to his tires in the middle stint, and his car performance just cratered in the final run. He was still on the podium, true, but that's really only because Felipe Massa's Ferrari stalled on the grid and he wound up having to start from the pitlane. Lewismania is still alive and well, but this would have to be the most disappointing race of his career. All nine races of it.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Choose a Ferrari! Raikkonen wins with an impressive run, Massa finishes fifth despite starting from the pits. In fact, he was 10th by lap 8, and at one point was as high as third. We're going to give it to Massa, but if you think Kimi deserves it, we sure won't argue with you.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: McLaren. Ferrari had the impressive drives, but McLaren still had both cars on the podium, and it took some perfect racing from Kimi Raikkonen and perfect strategy from the team to keep Alonso from the win. They still have the same point lead in the constructor's championship that they had when they started the day, so it was a good day for them. But if Felipe Massa hadn't stalled on the grid...
*MOVE OF THE RACE: On lap 7 of Felipe Massa's charge through the field, he came upon the battle for 10th place between David Coulthard's Chin and Nico Rosberg. At Vale, Rosberg got into the grass, The Chin bobbled, and Massa nearly drove past them both at once. Instead, he only got Wonderboy, but was all over the back of Red Bull. DC'sC held off Massa for only a short time, but then Massa was gone, off in pursuit of Jarno Trulli. A nice little sequence, and quite deserving of the MotR.
*MOOOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Even the best get it wrong sometimes. They make one little mistake and their multi-million dollar triumph of engineering suddenly looks like a hoofed ruminant, grazing it's way across the fields. Today's Mooooo-oove wasn't quite as bad as Christijan Albers driving away with the fuel hose, but it could count as the first true race mistake of Lewis Hamilton's career. The young lad pits from the lead on lap 16, and a flawless pitstop begins... until the lollypop man signals Master Lewis to prepare to drive away. Hamilton, who probably had more adrenaline in him than any 20 normal beings, began to drive away... with the fuel hose still attached. He only lurched a foot or two, no real harm except for a couple of extra seconds lost, but it's the first sign of rookie behaviour (note British spelling) from the 22-year old. Nicely done, Lewis Hamilton, here's your first Mooooo-oove!
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...
July 01, 2007
*ADIEU, MANGY-CURS!: There will be a French Grand Prix next year. It just won't be at the Circuit de Nevers... and we at F1 UPDATE! couldn't be happier. It's not just that it's too narrow, or has too many turns, it's both combined. Worse yet, the turns are ill-placed: just when you get a run on the car ahead of you, there's a turn and your run is thrown out the window. They say that the last sequence of turns at Indianapolis is 'Mickey Mouse'? Mangy-Curs is ALL 'Mickey Mouse' to me.
*BONJOUR, FERRARI!: The Big Red Machine took the two top steps on the podium, and other than the first few laps when Lewis Hamilton was trying to get by, they weren't really challenged. We might just have a Constructor's Championship again.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Robert Kubica, BMW-Sauber. First race back after his incredible crash in Montreal, and he finishes fourth in a performance as dominant as any of the three ahead of him. BMW-Sauber is a step below the Big Two, and it's a big step, but they're the best of the rest. Honorable Mention to Jensen Button for getting his Honda across the line in 8th and earning them their FIRST standing point this year.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: Ferrari. Fastest in practices, fastest in quals, fastest in the race, top two finishers, and that after being outclassed for a few races? No chance it'd be anybody else, really.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso was harrassing Grizzly Nick Heidfeld for most of the first half of the race, throwing his car through the outside of turns in the hope of being able to keep up enough speed to get past, but failing every time. But on lap 33, Heidfeld was a little slow coming out of turn 10... but there's no way you can pass between 10 and the final chicane, the straightaway there is about two carlengths long. We know it, you know it, the fans knew it, the announcers knew it, and Heidfeld knew it. Alonso didn't. When Heidfeld went to go into the chicane, he discovered A Glare With Wheels to his inside, leaving him nowhere to go, and nothing to do but watch Alonso scurry past and run away. Brilliant pass, well-deserving of the Move of the Race.
*MOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the worst of the best, the Mooooo-ooove relishes and wallows in the bovine that lurks within every F1 pilot. Drivers leave the pits too early all the time. Not every driver leaves the pits so early they take the entire refueling hose and a couple of his pitcrew with him. And not every team could have this happen to them. Now, who could it be?
Congratulations to Christijan Albers and Team Spyker... here's your Moooooo-ooove!
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...
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