September 22, 2013

(Mini) F1 Update!: Singapore 2013

Oh my god.

This is your F1Update! for the 2013 Grand Prix of Singapore.

*THE RACE:  At the extinguishing of the lights, Hannibal Vettel had a less-than-perfect getaway from pole, while second-sitting Nico Rosberg had a good start.  This gave us the glorious image of Rosberg leading the race into Turn 1.

An instant later, he overcooked it, missed the turn, ran wide, and relinquished the lead to the three-time World Driver's Champion. 

And that was the last time anybody was ahead of Vettel all night.  By the end of the first lap, he had a 1.9 second lead over Rosberg.  By the end of the second, the lead was over four seconds and climbing.  He made his super-soft tires last longer than everybody elses, pitted after his challengers and came back out with a ten-second lead.  The only thing that could perhaps halt the bleeding was a Safety Car, which was duly called out when Daniel Ricciardo drove his Toro Rosso into a wall on Lap 24.  This cut the lead back down, of course, but the rolling restart played right back into the hands of Vettel.  It only took four laps for his ten second lead to come back, and in 12 laps he had a 30 second lead... plenty long enough to pit for tires and come back out in the lead.  And so it came to pass that Vettel won the race by 32 seconds over the Ferrari of HWMNBN, who was himself nearly 10 seconds ahead of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen.

*WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?:  Nothing good, for both us the fans and for Vettel's competition.  Red Bull has already shown that they can't be headed on slower tracks, and they've mastered fast circuits, too.  There is no obvious reason to assume that Vettel won't dominate the rest of the season.  Our only hope is for mechanical failures to rear their ugly head.  This is not as far-fetched as it may seem, as the team seems to be suffering gearbox problems.  Indeed, Mark Webber's gearbox burst into flame on the last lap, causing him to pull over short of the line... which caused a whole bunch of additional problems.  Y'see, after the race was finished and the surviving racers were on the cooldown lap, Webber jogged out onto track to catch a lift with HWMNBN.

This caused two or three other cars to have to make frantic avoiding manuevers so as to not run into the back of the stopped Ferrari.  Here's CCTV footage of the incident, which earned both drivers reprimands.  As it was Webber's third of the season, he's earned a 10-spot penalty for the next race.

*ON THE OTHER HAND:  Historically, Vettel is doing things we've seen but rarely in history... dominating his sport in a way only a few people have ever done.  Michael Jordan, Slappy Schumacher, Wayne Gretzky, B*rr* B*nds... and Vettel.  We should be aware of that fact, and admire it.  It's an amazing streak, but it's killing the enjoyment we here at F1U! have for the races.

*FINALLY:  Even McLaren's Tooned! was a recap episode this race.  Well, if the other teams have given up, why not the animation team, too?

Two weeks until Korea... we'll see you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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September 08, 2013

(Mini) F1 Update!: Italy 2013

Rain.  Rain is the great equalizer in F1.  Rain will make contenders out of midpackers, garbage out of champions, and exciting races out of boring ones.  As the field headed out to the grid a half-hour before the start of the 2013 Grand Prix of Italy, they were clad in Intermediate tires, courtesy of showers passing overhead.

*THE RACE:  But when the cars rolled away for the recon lap, the track had dried completely and all were wearing slicks... and we here at F1U! were considering drinking heavily.  When the lights went out and the entire Herd thundered down to the ridiculously tight first chicane, polesitter Hannibal Vettel fed us all a scrap of hope when he locked up his front-right tire, flatspotting it and imparting a serious vibration to the front of his car.  As a result, Vettel stopped before the 2nd place Ferrari of HWMNBN.  The Spaniard stayed on track for as long as he could, praying for the gray skies to open up and force everybody onto rain tires, but no luck.  He pitted on Lap 27, giving first place back to Vettel in the process.  And that's the way it stayed until late in the race, when both Vettel and teammate Mark Webber in third were warned about a serious gearbox problem.  Instructions were issued to short-shift whenever possible, so better to protect the unhappy assembly.  This killed any chance that Webber had to catch the Ferrari, and allowed Vettel's lead to drop from nearly 15 seconds to a meager five.  But that's how the race ended as well, bringing an end to the European leg of the F1 season.

*WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
:  It feels like the rest of the season is a fait accompli.  Vettel could sit out the next two races and even if HWMNBN won them both, he'd still be leading the driver's championship.  He could sit out the next three races before Shiv Hamilton would be in the picture.  Red Bull has a lead of 104 points over Ferrari in the constructor's championship... and a maximum of 43 points can be earned by a team per race.  Vettel has now won half of the races run this season, and it just seems impossible for him to be headed the rest of the way.  The next race is at Singapore in two weeks, and there's probably no circuit on the calendar that would be a more prototypical "Red Bull Track."  Yeesh.

*ON THE OTHER HAND:  A Ferrari on the podium at Monza is reason enough for the tifosi to go insane.  Here's a picture taken by HWMNBN after the trophy ceremony:

Just imagine what it would have been like if he had actually WON.

*FINALLY:  McLaren Tooned 50 Ep04, just in time for Rush...

It's worth watching with the captions on...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:46 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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