July 29, 2012

F1 Update!: Hungary 2012

The umbrellas were out in force as the Grumbling Herd began to make their way onto the grid, but would the weather make a difference?  Would Jenson Button swim to a victory, or would polesitter Lewis Hamilton run away with it?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2012 Grand Prix of Hungary!

*UMBRELLAS?  OR PARASOLS?:  Considering the way it'd been described in Practice and Qualifying, we were expecting to see a grumpy old man with a long beard building a big boat in the infield paddock area, while pairs of animals waited for him to finish up.  Instead, when SPEED's coverage came to life, we were shocked and surprised by the sight of blue skies with nary a cloud visible.  Disgustedly, the F1U! staff packed away the water wings and flippers.

*AND WE'RE OFF!  NO, WE'RE NOT!:  As the field began to form up on the grid after the recon lap, it seemed to be taking a long time.  Since F1 cars have no fans, cooling is accomplished only when they are in motion... and the cars at the front were getting hotter and hotter as the cars at the rear took their places.  Eventually, the track official at the back of the grid began to trot across the track, waving a green flag; this signaled to Charlie Whiting, F1 race starter and technical supremo, that everything was okay and he could begin the race.  But halfway across, suddenly he stopped waving the flag and reached for a radio.  And then we saw a sight that hasn't occurred in years:

The start was aborted and the field was sent around for another recon lap.  Nobody is quite sure why the start was aborted, and the confusion claimed one car, that of Slappy Schumacher.  "The car was overheating.  When I saw the yellow flags, I shut the car off," he said, apparently not expecting to be sent around again.  He wound up starting from the pit lane, getting a puncture, earned a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, losing all telemetry feeds, then retiring from the race completely.

*AND WE'RE OFF!  THIS TIME FOR SURE!:  When the lights went out on the now one-lap-shorter race, polesitter Lewis Hamilton got away clean, led the field through the first turn and headed off over the horizon.  Behind him, Lettuce Grosjean held second, but Jenson Button beat Seb Vettel into the turn for fourth. 

*NAP TIME:  And then it settled into a typical dry race at Hungary... dull.  Oh, to be sure, there were moments of the race where it looked like we could have some excitement, such as when first Grosjean, then much later his teammate Mumbles Raikkonen, had runs at Hamilton for the lead.  Indeed, both Lotus drivers managed to cut the lead down to a second or less, but could never quite get close enough to make a move on the leader.

*NOTHING VENTURE, NOTHING WIN:  Realizing that their cars couldn't compete straight up with either the Lotii or the McLarens, Red Bull rolled the dice and went with three-stop strategies for both of their drivers.  For Seb Vettel, it paid off; he was one lap away from getting a podium spot as the race ended... the one lap lost with the aborted start.  For Mark Webber, the strategy failed; he was in 5th when he made his third stop, resumed in 8th, and was unable to make the new tires work.  He finished in 8th.

*RED STORM RISING:  While HWMNBN was never within sniffing distance of the podium at any time during the race, he still managed to increase his lead in the driver's championship by finishing fifth.  With second-place Webber in 8th, the lead is now 40 points... which means that, in the worst possible case, the Ferrari driver could DNF the next race, Webber could win, and HWMNBN would still have a 15-point lead.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Mumbles Raikkonen looked exactly like The Iceman of old today, relentlessly closing in on the leader without ever putting a wheel wrong.  Only a KERS problem kept him from making a serious attempt at the lead.  If there was ever any doubt to his ability to win a race, he buried it today.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  Like Raikkonen, if there was any doubt that Lotus had a serious chance to win this year, the race today put paid to it.  2-3 on the podium, with both drivers having had good runs at the leader at various times in the race.  They're close, and Raikkonen and Grosjean look like they'll make it happen sooner rather than later.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  On Lap 45, Mumbles Raikkonen came into the pits for his last stop of the race.  As he came out, his teammate Lettuce Grosjean was thundering down the front straight at full steam.  As Raikkonen crossed the pit exit line, the two were neck and neck.

Raikkonen, on the inside, had the racing line, but Grosjean the momentum.  So Mumbles, being a cold-blooded Finn, decided to make life difficult for his teammate.  Very difficult.  In the process, he probably caused multiple cardiac arrests on the Lotus pit wall.

Tires interlaced, the two headed right for the outside of the turn.  Mumbles, not caring that it was his teammate to his left, kept pushing outside.  Grosjean had two choices: abandon the turn or crash the two of them out of the race.

Wisely, he headed for the run-off area and let his teammate keep 2nd.  Just behind the two of them, Seb Vettel yelled "drat".  So Mumbles Raikkonen, for holding your place against your teammate, here's your Move of the Race!

*MOOOOO-OOOOVE OF THE RACE:  On Lap 48, Hazzan Maldonado decided that he needed to get past Force India's Paul di Resta.  He had an entire track-width to work with as he pulled alongside the Scot into a right-hand turn... and then he flicked the Williams' steering wheel to the left.

The result was a hard thump to the side of the Force India, which was shoved off the track.  Unsurprisingly, the Marshals took a dim view of this tactic and gave Maldonado a drive-through penalty a few laps later.  There's nobody in the field right now that is as blatantly dangerous as Maldonado; here's your Mooooo, and you now have a month to get over yourself, jerk.

*SELECTED DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:


"To be able to win a Grand Prix on the weekend that the Olympic Games started in the UK too, well, I feel like we’ve done our part to contribute to what I hope will be many more British successes over the Olympic Games period. Someone has just told me that we’ve scored Britain’s first gold medal of 2012. Well, it isn’t really that, is it? But it’s the first British victory of the Olympic Games period, which is pretty cool." - Lewis Hamilton (note: real quote)

"mrmrmblm mrmlrrbll mrmrrlbbrl mrmbbbblrmlrbl." - Kimi Raikkonen

"Merde." - Lettuce Grosjean

"*whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine*" - Seb Vettel (note: real quote)

"It's all about points now.  I could care less where I finish as long as I keep in front in the driver's championship." - HWMNBN

"Everything was great, right up until the final pitstop... bad tirechanger, bad!" - Jenson Button

"I think my job is safe now... for the moment." - Bruno Senna

"Pants.  Just bloody pants." - Mark Webber

"I hate this track." - Felipe Massa

"I got a point.  Oh.  Joy." - Nico Rosberg

"I have nothing to say that is either relevant or true." - Nico Hulkenberg

"Damn sassenach booted m'car." - Paul di Resta

"I locked my brakes, it wasn't my fault, I didn't do it." - Hazzan Maldonado

"I'm afraid there isn't much to say today." - Sergio Perez (note: real quote)

"Meh." - Daniel Ricciardo

"An appalling unearthly report followed instantly, such as can be compared to nothing whatever known, not even to the roar of thunder, or the blast of volcanic explosions! No words can convey the slightest idea of the terrific sound! An immense spout of fire shot up from the bowels of the earth as from a crater. The earth heaved up, and with great difficulty some few spectators obtained a momentary glimpse of the projectile victoriously cleaving the air in the midst of the fiery vapors" - Jules Vergne (note: real quote)

"I won my only race here." - Heikki Kovaleinninninninnie

"Did you know I had a hydraulic leak?  I did.  Did anybody care?  Nope." - Gandalf Kobayashi

"..." - The Red Menace (note: F1.com doesn't have a quote from him)

"Half the season is done.  I want F1U! to call me 'The Hammer' just once." - Charles ToothPic

"Another race to forget for me." - Tim O'Glockenspiel (note: real quote)

"Had a good race, for a HRT." - Pete Rose

"I broke my steering.  How does THAT happen?" - Narain Kittylitter

"Not one of my better days." - Slappy Schumacher.

So that's it from Hungary.  We now enter the traditional Summer break, where NOTHING F1-related can occur... no practices, no work in the factories, no simulator stuff, nothing.  People take vacations.  They get to have actual lives.  Next race is Belgium on September 2nd... and we'll see you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:12 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 1546 words, total size 11 kb.

1 Horner said after the race that Webber's differential broke and so he was chewing the inside rear tire in every turn. Therefore, they had to take him in for the 3rd stop.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 29, 2012 10:35 PM (5OBKC)

2 Apparently the start was aborted because Slappy took the wrong grid spot (19th, instead of the correct 17th), and this caused confusion behind him with several other drivers ending up in the wrong boxes.

This season is really turning out interesting.  Even when the on course action is lacking, it's still an interesting race.

Posted by: David at July 30, 2012 10:48 AM (+yn5x)

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