June 25, 2014

Mini-F1Update!: Austria 2014

Now that our internet connection seems to be stable enough for us to type for more than a few minutes without going away for an hour, and the peanut gallery appears to be getting restless, it's time.  THIS is your mini-F1Update! for the 2014 Grand Prix of Austria!

*THE RACE:  Not as good as we here at F1U! hoped.  It started off better than we could have hoped, with Williams' Felipe Massa holding the lead from pole and his teammate Valterri Bottas holding back a challenge from the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.  Amazingly, Rosberg's teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who had started in ninth, made his way up to fourth by the end of the first lap.  And that's how it stayed for pretty much the first 15 laps, until the first round of pitstops.  At that point, it became a question of which team had the best strategists.  The answer came almost immediately: Mercedes.  Rosberg pitted first, and when he regained the track his fresh tires allowed him to turn out a lap so blisteringly fast that neither Williams driver could keep him behind.  The same went for Hamilton, and somewhere the Williams pencilpushers were sitting there, wondering what just happened?  While there was little chance that either Williams driver could have won the race, what chance they had was thrown away by the simple decision to keep them out one more lap each.  IF they had pitted first, one of two things would have happened.  First, they could have forced Mercedes to "shadow" the movements of their rivals, forcing them to react instead of dictating the terms.  Or, secondly, the exact same thing that happened to Massa and Bottas could have happened to the Merc guys: fresh tires, a hot lap while the Silver Arrows are standing still, and the lead could have stayed with the guys with the retro-cool livery.  We'll never know, however.  Even with brakes on the verge of failure and overheating engines power units, Rosberg led his teammate across the line, followed by Bottas and Massa.

*OTHER BITS:  Reigning world champion 4Time Vettel suffered a near-total loss of power on the second lap, before whatever problem it was got fixed and he was on his way, a lap down and never in contention.  He'd last until Lap 36, when the team decided to retire the car.  At Red Bull's home track, no less.  The RedBullRing proved to be an interesting place to hold a F1 race, one that was particularly hard on brakes.  It's been since Montreal, maybe five years ago, since we had seen exploding brake discs, but Toro Rosso's Jules Vergne definitely had that happen on Lap 61.  And finally, in the pre-race festivities, every Austrian F1 driver ever got reunited with their old cars to drive a parade lap or two.  Niki Lauda and his Ferrari 312T drew the most attention, of course, but we here at F1U! were wistful at the sight of Patrick Friesacher behind the wheel of the Minardi PS04 once again.  Ah, Guido and Ethel, how we miss you here at F1U!land.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Rosberg, we suppose.  We're not hooked on the idea, though.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Williams.  It's been a very long time since they've had a weekend like this, and there were surely a lot of people up and down the pitlane happy for Sir Frank Williams.  And rightfully so.

:  "Let's keep Felipe out for one more lap."


"Keep complaining, Lewis.  Your tears power my car." - Nico Rosberg

"Curse you, Red Baron!" - Lewis Hamilton

"I've never finished on the podium before.  It's so high up here!" - Valterri Bottas

"To pit first and come out fourth is a bit disappointing." - Felipe Massa (note: real quote)

"Felipe, I am faster than you." - HWMNBN (who was closing on Massa at the end)

That's it for this one.  Next up, Silverstone for the British Grand Prix!  See you then, then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:35 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 So, question. Vettel has his technical problem, goes down a lap, reboots his car or whatever, starts going again. Rejoins traffic, impeding the heck out of his teammate in the process. But wait a minute, aren't cars not on the lead lap obliged not to impede cars on the lead lap? Vettel could have hung back until the way was clear, made it back up to speed, and started working his way back through the field after that...

What's the rule on that exactly? Nobody really mentioned it at the time (and considering that Vettel put his wing into another car a little later and then gave up in apparent disgust, it hardly mattered), but it's still kind of a jerk move.

It's also kind of a backhanded insult to the backmarker teams, who put in whole seasons without putting a car into the points, when the lead teams drop back a bit and decide to take the car off the track altogether...

Posted by: Avatar at June 26, 2014 02:58 AM (ZeBdf)

2 What's the rule on that exactly?

He should have been blue-flagged, and if he ignored them, be subject to Steward's punishment.  Unfortunately, we in the viewing audience didn't get to see enough of him to find out if that's what was going on. 

It's also kind of a backhanded insult to the backmarker teams...

Considering the limited number of engine parts each team gets for the season, I don't think there's any problem with withdrawing a car with known engine problems.  I mean, I see what you're saying, and if Vettel was a lap down just because, say, he spun into the kittylitter and took a minute to dig himself out, THEN they retired the car, I think there'd be some pissed backmarkers...

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 26, 2014 06:46 AM (Ngn5H)

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