June 21, 2009

F1 UPDATE!: BRITAIN 2009

Stomp.  Stomp.  Squish.

THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2009 British Grand Prix!

*GODZILLA:  Maybe it was the cool asphalt making the Red Bull's tires last longer.  Maybe it was the cool asphalt making it harder for the Brawns to get their tires up to temperature.  Maybe it was the aero improvements to the RB5.  Whatever it was, from the second the lights went out this race belonged to Seb Vettel.  Every lap for the first 20 he added a second to his lead over second-place Rubens Barrichello, and when he finally swung in for his first pitstop he rejoined the race in the lead.  Vettel relinquished that lead for a total of three laps as the second round of stops happened, but even then it was to teammate Mark Webber.  At the end of the massacre, he was 15 seconds clear of Webber, 41 ahead of Barrichello.  We've seen some dominant performances this year, but nothing quite as like this.

*GODZOOKY:  In contrast, last year's polesitter Heikki Kovaleinninninnie was involved in an accident and World Champion Lewis Hamilton finished a resounding 16th.  Oh how McLaren has fallen... you know it's bad when there are banners in the British stands suggesting that the team junk the car and start over.  Meanwhile, the current points leader, Jenson Button, could do no better than sixth in his Brawn.  Not the way the partisan crowd wanted to see this one come out.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  At the age of 21, Seb Vettel is the youngest driver ever to win the British Grand Prix, and he did it while taking pole, setting fast lap of the race, and leading 57 out of 60 laps.  He also cured cancer, brought about world peace, and saved three kittens from a tree near Woodcote.  A honorable mention goes to Giancarlo Fisichella who brought his Farce India home in 10th place, and had a halfway decent shot at earning the team's first points going into the final batch of pitstops.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  A Red Bull 1-2, and it didn't seem like a fluke that they were 26 seconds up on the closest opposition.  Even when their cars were on hard tires and dialing back the engine revs, they were still faster than the fastest cars behind them.  Truly dominating, and maybe (maybe) a threat to the Brawns in the future.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  On lap 2, Grizzly Nick Heidfeld and HWMNBN were having a knockdown, dragout fight for 13th.  Some 10 carlengths behind was Giancarlo Fisichella's Farce India, near enough to be "in contact", but not so close as to be a threat.  As the BMW and the Renault bobbed and weaved, they entered Stowe.  Inexplicably, both of them completely blew their braking points and ran wide.  Meanwhile, Fisichella calmly zipped underneath them both, looking for all the while like he had a jet engine in the back of his car.  It was a beautiful job of taking advantage of your opponent's mistakes, and a glorious selection for the MotR.

*MOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: On Lap 34, McLaren's Heikki Kovaleininninninnie came out of the pits, slow and heavy with fuel.  Closing on him quickly came Toro Rosso's SeaBass, while just ahead was the backmarker Lewis Hamilton.  Heikki, thinking the Toro Rosso was one of the leaders, moved into the middle of the track in the run to Vale, leaving plenty of room for SeaBass to get by, either on the inside or the out.  SeaBass swerved inside, outside, then inside again, for no reason that any sane human being could possibly fathom, and...

...a broken nose for SeaBass, a broken rear for Kovaleinninninnie, and a load of debris all over the track was the result.  Oh, and the Moooooooo-ooove for SeaBass, too. 

*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:

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June 07, 2009

F1 Update!: Turkey 2009!

"You have built me a monster of a car, guys!" - Jenson Button

THIS is your F1 Update! for the Grand Prix of Turkey!

*A CHINK IN THE ARMOR?: Not so much, no.  In fact, the Grand Prix of Turkey turned out to be the least interesting race on the calendar so far.  At the start, it looked like it was going to be a true potboiler, with Rubens Barrichello completely blowing the start and dropping nine places in the blink of an eye and his teammate Jenson Button slotting in behind Sebastian Vettel and holding close despite being heavier on fuel.  Halfway through the second lap, Vettel went off-track for just an instant, which was all that Button needed.  He blew by the RB5, rocketed away, and never looked back.  It just became a question of which Red Bull driver would end up in second.

*BARRICHELLO BALLAST:  In what should be a legendary season full of unicorns and rainbows for the Brawn team, Rubens Barrichello is doing everything in his power to drag their glory through the mud.  First he complained about not getting to win a race earlier this season.  Then there was the pit-strategy change at Spain. 

Now, after cocking up his start, spinning out after bumping into Heikki Kovaleinninninnie, then tearing up his front wing when he collided with Adrian Sutil, he brought BrawnGP their first retirement with a broken gearbox on lap 48.  Of course, Barrichello is whining about all of this: "It's just frustrating because it has been happening too much on my side."  Meanwhile, his teammate is running away with the driver's championship with nary a fault or bobble.  What does Rubens think is happening here?

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Button would be the easy choice with another of his flawless drives to victory, but we're going to give the award to Mark Webber.  Starting from fourth, promoted automatically to third when Barrichello tried to leave half his gearbox on the grid, then had the unenviable challenge of hanging on to the tail of his teammate and Button as they tried to break the sound barrier.  As usual, Webber was up to the challenge and was rewarded with 2nd place when Red Bull's gambit of changing Vettel to a 3-stop strategy didn't pay off.  Couldn't've happened to a better guy on the grid.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Red Bull.  2nd and 3rd on the podium is nothing to sneeze at when you're in a Constructor's Championship race, and when one of your rivals winds up in the garage, all the better.  While their overall race strategies appear to need work if they're going to have a chance to catch Brawn, days like this are important.  Well done, lads.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  Last year, hearing that a Renault passing a McLaren for the MotR, you'd probably think it was for 3rd or 4th place, right?   Just goes to show that we're truly in Bizarro Season, for the pass was Nelson Piquet Jr passing Lewis Hamilton for 16th place.  On lap 34, Hamilton was flush with fuel, Piquet not so much, but the KERS advantage had shown that it could be insurmountable when used defensively.  Going into Turn 12, Piquet put himself on the outside of Hamilton and held off on his braking as long as he could.  Through the turn they were side-by-side, wheels with maybe two inches between them.  Being on the outside of 12 meant that the Renault was on the inside for 13, a clear advantage.  Hamilton wisely backed off slightly, while Piquet kept his foot down and overshot the turn, fishtailing slightly while Hamilton took a slower, yet shorter, line through 13.  Piquet's overshoot turned out to be strategy, however, as Hamilton, though in the lead at this point, was on the outside for 14.  As they came through the final turn the Renault re-re-claimed the lead and even pulled away slightly.  Great racing between two poor cars, and a well-earned MotR for the embattled Piquet.

*MOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  Ruben Barrichello's ill-advised attempt at a pass on Heikki Kovlaleinninninnie was bad, and he paid for it with a drop to 17th place.  His stupid move on Adrian Sutil, however, was worse.  He stuck his nose in from too far back and got most of his right endplane taken off for his trouble.  A hasty pitstop and a new nose dropped him down to 19th... last place, in other words, since Giancarlo Fisichella had already retired.  Bravo, Rubens, your weekend wasn't completely wasted... you won the Moooooo-ooove!

*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:

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