April 27, 2008

F1 UPDATE!: Spain 2008!

It wasn't a question of who would win, but which cars would survive... and was one driver uninjured?  Lets get to the updatin'!

*LUCK AND ENGINEERING:  Those are the only things that kept Heikki Kovaleininninninnie from being smeared across the inside of his cockpit after his front-left wheel rim failed at 160mph (a stone trapped between the rubber and the wheel is expected to be the reason for the failure).  His McLaren wound up burying itself into a tire barrier up to the front of the driver's compartment, completely destroying the nose and actually opening the 'bathtub'. 

Despite the violence of the accident, Heikki escaped with only a concussion and some bruising to his elbows and knees.  He's being kept in hospital overnight for observation, but it seems likely that he'll be allowed to drive in the GP of Turkey two weeks hence.

* THE KIMI & PHIL SHOW:  Ferrari ran away with this one, Massa getting past HWMNBN in the first turn, and the race was over.  It was just a question of who would be third.  Only two safety cars, one of which lasted 10 minutes, artificially kept Hamilton within spitting distance of the Ferraris.  Nope, this was a total blowout, and McLaren has got to be runnin' scared now.

* DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari.  He beat back any challenge his teammate tried to put together, drove a nearly flawless race, and delivered a little lost boy back to his parents to boot.  Throw in the evil glint he had in his eye when it came time to spray the champagne and King Juan Carlos of Spain was slow getting off the podium, and it was nearly the perfect performance.  If he had been able to seduce a grid girl in Parc Ferme, then it could have been better.

* TEAM OF THE RACE:  Ferrari.  1-3 on the grid, 1-2 on the podium, fast lap, two flawless drives, and never even close to being challenged?  Yeah, that's a good race.

* MOVE OF THE RACE:  Late in the race, Grizzly Nick Heidfeld was struggling back up the charts after suffering a 10sec. stop-and-go penalty for refueling before the pit lane had been opened during the Heikki Safety Car.  After fighting with Giancarlo Fisichella's Farce India for five or six laps, the BMW driver forced Fisi into a small bobble coming out of the final turn.  This was enough for Grizzly Nick to close up behind, getting a good tow from the other car.  He blew the metaphorical doors off the Italian, then pinned him to the outside where there was nothing he could do to defend his line.  Heidfeld then quickly pulled away.  While it was only for 9th place (and no points), it was still the class of the passing for the day.

* MOOOOOO-OOOOVE OF THE RACE:  Sometimes, even the best racers in the world act like cattle on the ranch.  The Mooo-otR was created just for them.  This race, there were two worthy candidates.  The first goes to Rubens Barrichello, who managed to knock his front wing off... in the pit lane without hitting anybody!  He then had to drive an entire lap with the wing jammed tightly into his suspension. 

The second goes to Timo Glock, who decided that he really needed to be right where David Coulthard's Chin was, implanting his nose into the rear of the Red Bull for no good reason that anybody could see.  Bravo and Moo! to both our winners.



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April 06, 2008

F1 UPDATE!: Bahrain 2008!

It was a special day for one team, a dominant day for another, and a disaster for a third, but it's always a great day for F1 UPDATE!  Let's get to the race!

*NOT AS GOOD AS WE HOPED...:  We at F1 UPDATE! thought that this was going to be a "helluva race" after Quals.  Well... not so much.  Felipe Massa blew a wheel-spinning Robert Kubica off the line when the lights went out, and the race was over.  Then it just became a question of which Ferrari would win, and by how much. 

*APPLY HAND TO THROAT, SQUEEZE.:  That must have been the McLaren race plan for Lewis Hamilton.  First he nearly stalled the car at the start and lost 10 places, then he crunched into HWMNBN, lost his nose, and suddenly it wasn't a question of "can he win," it was "can he get points," then finally "can he finish in the top half?"  The answer in all cases was "nope."  We at F1 UPDATE! are on record as thinking that Hamilton may be weak driving in traffic, and Bahrain has done nothing to change those thoughts.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Felipe Massa, Ferrari.  With two DNFs in the first two races, and rumors of HWMNBN being considered to take his seat next year, Massa desperately needed a good race, if only to get the rabid Italian press off his back.  He got it.  He got past Kubica before the first turn, then drove a nearly flawless race the rest of the way.  The only bobble was a quick on-and-off around the halfway mark as he was about to put a lap on a Farce India.  This was even his first win from a position other than pole... all in all, a pretty good race for Felipe Massa.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  Ferrari finished 1-2, but they don't get this designation today, if only because they're expected to finish 1-2.  Besides, I suspect that even they would (in private, quietly, where nobody else could hear them) admit that BMW-Sauber deserves the award today.  Kubica was pole sitter, finished third and is fourth in the Driver's Championship, Nick Heidfeld was 4th, had the fast lap of the race (for the second race in a row) (Koveleininninnie deep-sixed that at the end of the race), and is now second in the Driver's Championship.  But more importantly, the team is now leading the Constructor's Championship for the first time ever.  Yep, they may not quite be in position to compete for a win just yet, but they are definitely for real.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  The best place to pass on the Bahrain circuit is turn one.  Generally, the best way to do it is to get to the inside of your target and outbrake him.  You saw that exact thing occur a number of times today, as a matter of fact.  On lap 4, however, Robert Kubica was trying to hold off Kimi Raikkonen for second place and it looked to all of us here at F1 UPDATE! that he'd managed it.  He had the inside line closed off solid, and the speed difference between the Ferrari and the BMW isn't so great that Kimi could get past before the turn.  Kimi then surprised us, the announcers, Robert Kubica, and Mrs Edna Snodgrass of Llanberis, Wales (who wasn't even watching) by going to the outside of Kubica's BMW... and making it stick.  He then managed to keep Kubica from repassing by raw power.  A skillful pass, and one well-deserving of the MOTR.

*MOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  Even the best racers in the world have moments where they chew their cud and lumber around the circuit.  For those entertaining incidents, the Mooooo-ooove was created.  Today's winner is actually two seperate incidents from the same man: Lewis Hamilton.  First, he had the worst start in the history of mankind, dropping 10 places in the blink of an eye, when he managed to nearly stall his McLaren.  A brisk walking pace would have passed him, quite honestly.  That's bad enough, but on Lap 2, while trying to recover from his atrocious start, he was all over the back of HWMNBN.  The Renault was heavy with fuel, and couldn't accelerate as quickly out of a turn as the McLaren.   Hamilton neglected to consider this fact, and the result?

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have liftoff!!!
A lost nose and the resulting pitstop put Hamilton nearly 1:10 behind the leaders, and his day was done.  Well done, lad... here's your Mooooo-ooove!



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