April 21, 2013

F1 Update!: Bahrain 2013

Remember when you could watch a Formula 1 race and expect that Hannibal Vettel was going to win?  It was only two seasons ago that he dominated the sport, so we're not talking that much time.  Remember how much fun that year was?  You do?  Good.  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2013 Grand Prix of Bahrain!

*BACK IN THE BAD OLD DAYS:  It took two laps, but Red Bull's Hannibal Vettel passed the Mercedes of polesitter Nico Rosberg for the lead.  He then proceeded to run away and hide.  The only car that seemed to have the guts to hang with him, the Ferrari of HWMNBN, managed to stay in contact for eight laps.  At that point, his DRS flap stuck in the open position, requiring two unscheduled stops to close permanently and the last possible challenger was gone.  Vettel ran away with the race.

*OH SO CLOSE: For most of the race, Force India's Paul di Resta had a podium position.  For a few laps, in fact, he led the race while Vettel pitted.  Eventually the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen passed him for second.  Then, alas, with five laps remaining, Lettuce Grosjean's newer tires took him past for third.  It would have been Force India's second ever podium, and di Resta's best finish ever.

*THE REST:  Meh.  Sergio Perez apparently thought that Red Bull thing of a few weeks ago was cool, so he decided to run into his teammate, Jenson Button.  Felipe Massa had two right-rear tire failures to kill any chance he had.  We here at F1U! just couldn't be bothered, to be honest.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  HWMNBN.  His DRS system stuck open twice in two laps.  It looked like it would open, then for whatever reason, it would get caught in the airflow and open wider than it was supposed to.  After it happened the second time, Ferrari told him "don't use it anymore." Racing from last, he managed to drive a crippled car back up the grid to finish eighth.  Amazing job.  Honorable mention to Paul di Resta for a heckuva weekend.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  Lotus.  Kimi in second, Lettuce in third, and the team is now second in the Constructors Championship.  Yeah, not bad.

:  On Lap 20, Lettuce Grosjean passed Nico Rosberg for third.  To do so, he took advantage of McLaren's Jenson Button having passed Rosberg mere moments earlier, as Rosberg was out of position.  It was a slick move, but completely unphotogenic.  Still, here's your award, Lettuce!  Nice job!

:  Oddly enough, the only Moooooo-ooove-worthy thing that occurred today was on Lap 1, which means it isn't eligible to win the award.  It also wasn't on camera, so Giedo Van De Garde gets away with it.  Barely.  We've got our eyes on him, though.  So this week's award goes to Pirelli for Felipe Massa's right-rear tire failures.  They claim it was due to debris, but there were no other failures all day.  Methinks Pirelli just had some bad rubber in the mix.

Look how close that hull came to coming off the rim altogether.  Great job, Pirelli!  Here's your Moooooooo-oooove!



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April 14, 2013

F1 Update!: China 2013

There are races that are nailbiters from start to finish, where you have the leaders racing mere feet from each other, while the rest of the grid hovers just carlengths behind, hoping for an mistake.  Then you have the races where one or two cars dominate the field, running away over the horizon, leaving the field fighting for second or third.  Today was neither of these.  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2013 Grand Prix of China!

*GRAPHS AND CHARTS:  There were actually two races going on today: the one on-track, and the one on the tires.  Those who started on the Soft tires and got off them at the beginning of the race, i.e., most everybody, had one race going on.  Those few who started on the Medium tires and chose to pit late in the race for the Soft rubber (Vettel, Button, Hulkenberg) had the other race, which turned out to be for the fastest non-podium position.  That meant that we had the weird image of Hannibal Vettel leading the race on track, but in fourth position on the pit rotation.

:  Meh.  Once the first pit stop to get off the Soft tires occurred, it became something of a processional.  HWMNBN passed Shiv Hamilton on Lap 5 using the DRS system, and though we didn't realize it at the time, that was the end of the race right there.  The Ferrari was just awesome today, pretty much dominating the field.  Vettel would take the lead on the pit stops, but when the Ferrari wound up passing the Red Bull despite the difference in tires, it was clear who had the best car.  When Vettel finally stopped to get his Soft tires, he was nearly eight seconds behind HWMNBN on track... but nearly 30 seconds behind on paper.  He re-emerged in fourth, 12 seconds behind Shiv Hamilton.  While he would eat that up, closing to less than an half-second behind in five laps, but the Soft tires turned into the legendary jelly donut just as he was getting ready to make a move for the podium.  HWMNBN led Kimi Raikkonen by 10 seconds at the checkered flag, and the Finn led Shiv by two seconds to complete your podium.

: What was the race like?  We here at F1U! kept falling asleep.  In the middle of the day.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  HWMNBN got his first win in 13 races.  Just hugely dominant.

:  Ferrari.  They finished 1st - 6th, closed the gap to Red Bull in the constructor's championship to just a few points, and generally dominated the day.  What more could you want?

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  On Lap 5, we had the image of HWMNBN and teammate Felipe Massa behind the Silver Arrow of Shiv Hamilton as they turned onto the start/finish straight.

The Spaniard made quick work of the Brit with his DRS advantage (the FIA added a second DRS zone late; the front straight), clearing the road for his Brazilian teammate.

While Shiv did everything he could to keep Massa behind, weaving across the track (legally!), the result looked inevitable.

...and sure enough, Massa outmuscled the Merc into Turn 1, slapping Hamilton in the face and handing him a two-position loss... to the SAME TEAM... in one straightaway.  Bravo, Ferrari.  Here's your shared Move of the Race!

*MOOOOOO-OOOOVE OF THE RACE:  There can be only one.

Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, in a odd attempt to get past the McLaren of Sergio Perez, decided that he didn't really need to break for a turnOHCRAPFORCEINDIA!!!  The Sauber was out on the spot, Adrian F'n Sutil managed to make it back to the pits with a deranged rear wing, at which point the hydraulic fluid for the DRS dripped onto the hot brakes and caught fire.  Nicely done, Gutierrez!  Welcome to the big show, here's a Mooooo!



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