June 22, 2008

F1 Update!: FRANCE 2008

Ugh.  This is your F1 UPDATE!

*MERDE: Wow, this was dull.  How dull was this race?  Here's a picture of a piece of french bread:

That picture is more interesting than the 2008 French Grand Prix.  Even the rain that began to fall with 15 laps to go was uninteresting, being just a light sprinkle.

*FERRARI IS ALL: Halfway through the race, Kimi Raikkonen had a problem develop with his exhaust system: it started to fall off his car.  The right-hand exhaust pipe somehow broke and, held on only by the heat sensor, began to bounce and flail against the Ferrari's bodywork.

It was obvious that the piece of pipe was going to break free sooner or later, and thus constituted a hazard to everybody behind him... imagine the damage that could result if it came off and speared into a car following!  Therefore, the track marshals should have forced him to pit so it could be removed.  Of course, the Ferrari would have lost track position, but that's a minor thing considering the safety problems.  That Kimi was leading at the time shouldn't have any bearing on the situation.  Also of course, the FIA did nothing.  Even more surprising, neither did Ferrari when Kimi DID pit!  They left the pipe as-is.  It was only luck that there wasn't anybody nearby when it finally broke free, rocketing off the rear wing and headed for low-earth orbit.  The overheating Ferrari eventually finished second.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: We never thought we'd say this, but Jarno Trulli.  Bringing Toyota their first podium finish since the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix, Trulli was under fire the entire race.  Somehow, he managed to beat back challenges from Heikki Kovaleinninninnie, Robert Kubica and Mark Webber.  Even Jarno's great nemesis, the rain, couldn't keep him from third place.  The lone bright spot in a very boring race.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Ferrari.  Podium sweep, fast lap, a friendly FIA, and a McLaren team that seems to be spinning its wheels all point to Ferrari running away and hiding the rest of the season. 

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  On Lap 19, Lewis Hamilton, who had been bothering HWMNBN for 12th place for a while, ran low while the Renault swung wide into the turn named Estoril.  HWMNBN apparently had no idea what was going on, for he began to swing himself onto the inside line even as Hamilton occupied it.  Surprised, he twitched and Hamilton zipped by.  A nice, if ultimately pointless (Hamilton at the end of the lap), Move of the Race.

*MOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  Even the Moooo-ooove for this race is dull!  Jenson Button bumped into SeaBass going into turn 1 at the start of the race, which broke his front wing and eventually led to his retirement (the only one of the race).  Congratulations, Jenson, you're the most boring MoootR winner EVER!



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June 08, 2008

F1 UPDATE!: Montreal 2008!

A historic race, a lucky break in the weather here at The Pond, and this is F1 UPDATE!

*A RACE FOR FIRSTS:  Robert Kubica, one year removed from a horrendous crash at this same track, won today's Canadian Grand Prix and in the process took over the lead in the Driver's Championship.  This is not only his first win, but the first win for BMW as a Constructor to boot.  And for the first time in F1 history, the Polish national anthem was played in the podium ceremony.

*A TRACK FOR ALL SEASONS (EXCEPT RACE SEASON): There's no denying that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has brought us some marvelous races in the past, but the condition of the track left a lot to be desired.  The breakup of the surface, particularly in the hairpin, contributed to a number of unforced errors today. The worst part is, this has happened every race for the past three seasons.  As much as we hate to say it, the FIA needs to wield some of its power to get this dealt with, and soon.   We at F1 UPDATE! like the circuit a lot, but it's getting ridiculous.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Is there any doubt? 

Robert Kubica has shown that he's a serious contender for the Driver's Championship and earned a pole, but hasn't quite won a race.  Well, today he has, and is now leading Kimi Raikkonen in the points. 

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  Is there any doubt?  BMW-Sauber not only got their first ever win (not counting the handful of Sauber victories before BMW came in), but Grizzly Nick Heidfeld was second on the podium as well.  To make things even better, the team has now jumped into second in the Constructor's Championship.  The team got their 1-2 by doing everything right today, from calling their cars into the pits at the right time, following the rules and paying attention to the red light in the pits, to running their drivers under two different fuel strategies to make SURE they'd get the win, and some great work by the pit crew to get Kubica re-tired, refueled, and out before his teammate came around.  A flat-out dominant performance by the now-confirmed newest member of the Grade-A teams.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  Ferrari had a particularly poor race today, with Kimi being knocked out early (see the Moooo-ooove of the Race, below), and Massa's race being compromised by some miserable work in the pits, the MotR is small consolation.  However, with the race beginning to wind down, Massa found himself behind both Rubens Barrichello and Heikki Kovaleinninninnie, faster than both, but unable to get past either.  Heading down into the hairpin, both the McLaren and Honda drivers stayed high to avoid the crumbling inner line through the turn.  Massa took a gamble and went low, into the gravel that used to be aspahlt, then even lower, actually getting a tire onto the grass. 

Nice to see the track's in good shape...
By the end of the turn, he had passed Barrichello and pulled even with Heikki.  Heikki, seeing the Ferrari very close indeed to his right tires, twitched to the left just a hair, and Massa powered past.  Two positions in one pass?  Oh yeah, that's the Move of the Race right there.

*MOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  Even the best racers in the world can't be on all the time, and that's what the Mooooo-ooove celebrates (or denigrates, if you've won it).  Adrian Sutil's race came to a premature end on lap 17, breaking his suspension after smacking the wall.  After coming to a halt, his brakes caught fire.  As his car came to a halt in a location that a crane couldn't get to, marshals had to go out and push his Force India behind the wall, which brought out the Safety Car.  Once the pitlane opened, all the leaders dove in for fuel and tires.  Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari and Robert Kubica's BMW won the pit crew duel and began to exit.  However, the red light signifying that the cars could not exit was still on, forcing both to stop at the end of the lane.  Lewis Hamilton, distracted by something bright and shiny in his McLaren, didn't notice that they had stopped and continued to accelerate down the lane.  When he next looked up, he swerved to avoid the two... and failed, ramming hard into the Ferrari.  Kimi lost his rear wing, Lewis lost his front suspension.

Red means stop.  Red light, red car... what more do you need?
He was then rear-ended by Williams' Nico Rosberg, but that was just icing on the cake.  Hamilton had already won the Moooooo-ooove of the Race... and has been hit with a 10-grid spot penalty for the next race.



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