July 20, 2008

F1 UPDATE!: Germany 2008!

Oh, the difference a safety car makes.  THIS is the F1 UPDATE! for the German Grand Prix!

*NIP/TUCK: From the start of the race, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton ran away and hid from the rest of the field.  To be honest, it was quite unexciting, and we here at F1 UPDATE! were giving serious thought to taking a nap.  It didn't even look like we were going to get any rain to make it a little more interesting.  And then, as they say in Heidelberg, "Glock Happens."  Specifically, Timo Glock ran very wide on the last turn  of lap 35.  He jounced over the curb, and his right rear suspension completely collapsed.

Note to Toyota: suspensions should not be made of sillyputty.
His car smashed against the inside wall, shredding the Toyota and spewing shard of carbon fiber across the front straight.  The safety car was deployed, and Hamilton's 12-second lead was gone.  Everybody dove for the pits, wanting to get their cars refueled and new rubber put on... except for Hamilton; McLaren mysteriously kept him out on track.  Suddenly, it was not only a new race, but one at which Lewis was at a distinct disadvantage, for he had to pit before the end of the race.  When the safety car period ended, Hamilton, lighter on fuel than everybody else, began to reopen his lead.  Eventually it was up to 15 seconds when he guided the Glare On Wheels into the pits.  Here's the problem: to enter the pit lane, drive to your box, get serviced, then exit the pits takes about 25 seconds.  When Hamilton returned to the track on lap 50, he was in fifth with 15 laps to go.  BMW's Grizzly Nick Heidfeld, who also ignored the free pitstop offered by the safety car, went in for fuel and tires.  Lewis' teammate, Heikki Koveleinninninnie let Hamilton by after a (very) token battle.  He caught up to Massa on lap 57 (see: Move of the Race below), and then, with five laps to go, he took the lead from the Renault of Nelson Piquet (who was just pitting when Glock crashed, jumping him about 12 places in one instant) and ran away for the win.  A truly amazing display of driving ability and car performance, nearly Slappy-esque in it's quality.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Lewis Hamilton.  He was going to win this race before the safety car came out, then after McLaren fscked up by not bringing him in, he went out and won it again.  At least as impressive a drive in the last 15 laps as his victory by over 60 seconds in the wet at Silverstone, there's no question that Hamilton deserves to be the Driver of the Race.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  Renault.  A lucky break gave them a gift podium, to be sure, but you HAVE to be lucky to be good, and it's their first podium in since 2006.  Perhaps more importantly, they managed to hold of Massa's Ferrari to stay in 2nd place.  Don't count on it happening again this season, but for now, Renault gets the TotR.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  On lap 57, Lewis Hamilton was closing in on Felipe Massa for second place.  He got close behind the Brazillian in Parabolika and was rewarded with a massive tow down the fastest part of the circuit, and headed into the hairpin in perfect position, just behind and inside of the Ferrari.  Hamilton held off on braking as long as he could, then decelerated like he had thrown an anchor out of the cockpit.  Massa, however, was having none of it willingly.  He tried to slam the door in the McLaren's face... but Hamilton was having none of that, either.  He shoved Massa outside, refusing to give him an inch of room.  Massa wound up in the runoff area off-track.  Still game, however, Massa tried to get the position back in turn 8.  Hamilton shouldered the Ferrari offline again, which almost let Heidfeld jump into third.  A gorgeous bar-room brawl of a passing sequence, well deserving of the Move of the Race... and, if this turns out to be the race where Hamilton takes the Driver's Championship lead for good, perhaps the Move of the Year.

*MOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  From the sublime to the ridiculous, the Mooooo-ooove celebrates the performances that make the best drivers in the world look like they only got their learner's permits last week.  While McLaren's attempt at giving the race away by not calling Hamilton in during the safety car period nearly won, saved only by Hamilton's victory, instead we'll be giving the award to an on-track incident.  On lap 49, Rubens Barrichello, the most experienced driver in F1 today, tried to pass David Coulthard's Chin, the oldest driver in F1 today, on the outside.  A dodgy attempt to begin with became much, much worse, when The Chin slipped outside to block... and wound up running into the Honda.  The Red Bull went wobbling away, the Honda lost it's nose, and both cars wound up losing a handful of positions for no real good reason.  Both of you should have known better, and that's why we lovingly present you with a joint Moooooo-ooove.  Well done.

*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:

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Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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July 06, 2008

F1 UPDATE!: BRITAIN 2008

Break out your slickers and wellies, THIS is F1 UPDATE!

*RAIN:  The race started in the rain.  Then it stopped.  Then it poured.  Then the race got silly.  Only three cars were still on the lead lap when the race ended, and the winner, some bloke named Lewis Hamilton, was 68 seconds ahead of 2nd place.  Yet at times, it was the worst car on track that was turning laps seven seconds faster than the leader, and you had one driver pass two cars for position in one move TWICE.  We've said it before, and we'll say it again in the future, but we love F1 in the wet.

*EVERYONE LOVES A THREE-WAY:  After today's results, there are three drivers with 48 championship points: Hamilton, Raikkonen and Massa.  Kubica has 46.  This one is wiiiiiide open.

*...RIGHT DOWN THEIR LEG:  Massa spun four or five times.  Kimi ended up fourth, but knows he was lucky to be even that high.  Ferrari as a team looked like a bunch of amateurs with their strategies.  And it didn't have to be that way: until the first pitstop, Kimi was only a couple of car-lengths behind Hamilton.  They pitted at the same time, they left the pits at the same time, and two laps later, Raikkonen was seven seconds behind (see Mooooo-ooove of the Race), and it was only a question of "would the cars stay on the track?"  Nightmare fuel for the tifosi, and a shot in the arm for McLaren.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: By all rights, Lewis Hamilton should win this.  It isn't every day a race is won by 68 seconds, y'know.  Any other race, a performance like that would earn him the DotR honors without any questions whatsoever.  But it isn't every day that the worst car on the grid ends up finishing third, too, and a lot of the reason for that is the driver... Rubens Barrichello.  His first podium finish since the 2005 USGP (when only six cars took the green flag), and Honda's first podium since Hungary 2006 (Jenson Button, win)?  Sure, part of it was that they gambled with full-wet tires even though the sun was coming out, but what the heck?  Congrats, Rubens!  If anybody deserves a break, it's you.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  McLaren.  1st-5th and you win by over a minute?  Yep, you get the TotR award, but only because everybody else blew chunks. 

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  While everybody else looked like they were driving on ice (except for Hamilton, of course), Grizzly Nick Heidfeld was zipping around the track like he had studded tires.  Around lap 20, he was in 6th place, behind Toyota's Timo Glock and the Renault of HWMNBN.  Heading into a turn, he banzais himself around Glock to the outside, then zips past HWMNBN to the inside... in the same turn!  Good enough to win the MotR right there, but he wasn't finished yet.  Seven laps later, he was behind the dual Finns of Kovaleinninninnie and Raikkonen (3rd and 2nd, respectively).  Again, Heidfeld disposed of both of them at the same time for his second 2-car pass of the race.  Ballsy stuff from Grizzly Nick, considering the track condition at the time, and the combination should be in the running for Move(s) of the Year.

*MOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  Celebrating the best of the worst of the race, the Moooooo-ooove generally goes to the driver who makes the Art of F1 Driving look more like the Scientology of F1 Driving: a laughingstock, in other words.  Today, though, we can't blame the drivers for their lowing and cud-chewing: the weather caused that.  However, there was one incident that just screamed "Mooo!" in this race.  As the first round of pitstops came near, the rain had stopped but the track was still very wet (Silverstone is very wide, and mostly flat, with no camber at all.  As a result, water on pavement just sits there until it steams off).  A couple of laps later, Smarmy Windsor reported that it was raining in the paddock.  Kimi Raikkonen trailed Lewis Hamilton by about a second as they both came in to pit.  Lewis took fuel and new Intermediate tires.  Ferrari, though, sent Kimi back out with fuel only, leaving him with worn Inters.  A lap or so later, they did the same with Massa, revealing that it was a team strategy, not a driver saying "let's do this."  The gamble was that if it stopped raining and began to dry, the worn Inters would suddenly act like slick tires: no grooves, huge contact patch, and great grip.  BUT IT WAS RAINING!  Within two laps, Kimi was seven seconds behind Hamilton, and his chances of winning were pretty much gone.  The worn tires surely also helped Massa with his imitation of a child's top.  Congratulations, Ferrari!  For screwing up the entire race weekend you deserve the Moooooo-ooove.  No, don't thank us, you deserve it.

*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:

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