July 26, 2018

Oh, Hey, Hungary Is This Weekend.

My least favorite circuit at a time where I'm really down on F1?  I'll monitor everything, if and when anything interesting happens I'll blog about it, but whew.


This may be disappointing to my two or three remaining F1 fans but I'm really toasty around the edges and can't work up the energy right now.  I love you all for sticking around, I really really do, and I hope you stick around forever.

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July 19, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: Germany 2018

Gotta hurry on this post... again... while my old computer works and my bodyhealth stays above "miserable".  Here's the track map for the home of the Grand Prix of Germany, Hockenheim:


Remember, we had no grand prix in Germany last year... in the rotating track thing that Germany has, the Nurburgring couldn't afford it.  So it's Hockenheim's turn again!  For the most part, it's inoffensive with a touch of "what used to be" nostalgia involved.  As I always mention, back in the old days, there used to be a ridiculously high-speed section that went blasting through a forest in a semi-oval that reached from Turn 2 to Turn 6 on the new map... totally breathtaking, ridiculously dangerous.  It's probably good that it's gone, but...

Here's the alleged broadcast schedule:
Saturday
Practice 3: 5a - 630a  live on ESPNews
Quals: 8a - 930a  live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Germany: 8a - 1030a  live on ESPN2

No promises on a F1U... if the race moves me to one, then there'll be one.  If not, there won't.  I'm working on it.  See you soon!

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July 07, 2018

F1 Quals: Britain 2018

A sunny day greeted the assembled tea-drinkin' hordes at Silverstone today, and with it came even hotter track temperatures than we had last week... remember, the race that saw tires blistering after only a few laps?  As a result of the nearly 130ºF surface temps, times were a little slower than expected today... how got effected?  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Britain:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.818 1:26.256 1:25.892
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.585 1:26.372 1:25.936
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:27.549 1:26.483 1:25.990
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:27.025 1:26.413 1:26.217
5 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:27.309 1:27.013 1:26.602
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:27.979 1:27.369 1:27.099
7 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:28.143 1:27.730 1:27.244
8 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:28.086 1:27.522 1:27.455
9 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:27.962 1:27.790 1:27.879
10 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:28.279 1:27.843 1:28.194
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:28.017 1:27.901
12 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:28.210 1:27.928
13 Meatloaf Alonso McLaren Renault 1:28.187 1:28.139
14 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:28.399 1:28.343
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:28.249 1:28.391
16 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:28.456

17 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:29.096

18 Sergey,  Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:29.252

NC Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes DNF


Nobody, really... or everybody equally.  Take your pick.  What we got was a Quals session that saw the Lewis Hamilton take pole by 44/1000ths of a second, and the top three covered by just a touch more than 1/10th of a second.  Easily the closest quals we've had all year.

Sadly, Pleasant Stroll beached himself in after only a few minutes in Q1 and didn't finish a lap.  Similarly, Brendan Hartley missed out on Quals altogether after a rather brutal high-speed accident in Practice 3 when his front suspension snapped under braking.  He's okay, but Toro Rosso couldn't repair the car in time.  

Teams are saying that a two-stopper is quite possible because of the heat, so we might have some interesting times tomorrow.  F1U! sometime afterwards... having dinner with Vaucaunson's Duck...  so see you then!

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July 05, 2018

F1 on... Somewhere: Great Britain 2018

The reason for the title will be understood soon enough.  Before that, though... it's SILVERSTONE!  


I know I'm not alone in disliking the new layout for this iconic track... essentially it ran from turn 1 to turn 7 directly (more or less).  Also the start-finish line was between Turns 8 and 9.  I guess the new pit facilities and grandstands are pretty darn amazing, so... yeah.   Oh, also: there's going to be a third DRS zone, which Formula1.com's maps don't show.  Whoops.

In any case, it's fast, it's grippy, the Maggots-Becketts-Copse complex is my favorite sequence of turns in F1, and since the whole place is built on a plateau and has its own microclimate, rain is always a possibility.  Let's hope!

Now for the bad news.  This is the point where I'd normally list out the broadcast schedule for the weekend, but I can't do that right now.  I have three sources for times/channels, and the only thing they agree upon is times.  What channel anything is going to be on is up in the air over here at Pond Central... to the point where Quals actually MOVED CHANNELS as I programmed it into my DVR.  So check your local schedule for your own set of times.  I can confirm that Quals is on Saturday and the Race is on Sunday.  So you've got that going for you.  Which is nice.

See ya soon!

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June 30, 2018

F1 Quals: Austria 2018

It didn't rain.  It needed to rain.  Someone make it rain during the race, please.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Austria:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:04.175 1:03.756 1:03.130
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.080 1:03.577 1:03.149
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:04.347 1:03.544 1:03.464
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:04.234 1:03.975 1:03.660
5 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:04.273 1:04.001 1:03.840
6 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:04.242 1:04.059 1:03.892
7 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:04.723 1:04.403 1:03.996
8 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:04.460 1:04.291 1:04.051
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:04.948 1:04.561 1:04.725
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:04.864 1:04.676 1:05.019
11 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:05.148 1:04.845
12 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:05.011 1:04.874
13 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:04.967 1:04.979
14 Meatloaf Alonso McLaren Renault 1:04.965 1:05.058
15 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:05.264 1:05.286
16 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:05.271

17 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:05.279

18 Sergey,  Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:05.322

19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:05.366

20 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:05.479


Wha-wuh-whaaaaaaat?  A Mercedes on the pole?  You could knock me over with a feather.  Really, there wasn't much in Quals today to make one sit up and take notice.  Oh sure, Haas got both cars into Q3 for the second consecutive race, a first for that young team, but... well.  

Race is in the morning, F1U! sometime afterwards.  See ya!

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June 27, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: Austria 2018

This week, the hills are alive with the shriek of turbocharged V6s as the Formula 1 Zirkus makes its way to the Red Bull Ring in Austria!  Let's take a look at the track map, shall we?


Something about this place feels off to me.  Maybe it's just that it seems to be out in the middle of a field, running pleasantly up hill and down dale.  That's not the way race tracks should be, y'know?  Is it just me?  There's nothing particularly offensive about the RedBullRing, except its name, not really.  It's a track.  It has more elevation change than most, it's almost all right turns, and again, I fully expect farm animals to be grazing in the background of most camera shots.

Speaking of farm animals, we get SkySports again... here's the broadcast lineup on the various ESPN channels:
Saturday
Practice 3: 5a - 630a live on ESPNews
Quals: 8a - 930a live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Austria: 8a - 1030a  live on ESPN2

F1 Update! will follow along eventually in some form or another.  See ya then!

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June 24, 2018

F1 France 2018: I Dun Goofed

This has been a day to forget.


First, I couldn't fall asleep until nearly 5am.  Then I wound up not being able to get out of bed until nearly 2pm.  Came out to The Pond's Viewing Room, carrying a bit of lunch and a beverage, intending to watch the race.  It's all set, a good afternoon is in the making!  

But the race didn't record.  I spent a good couple of minutes trying to figure out exactly why it didn't record, but quickly realized it didn't matter.  There's a replay I can watch, right?  Yep... and it was just ending.

I'll be recording the next replay... which is at 7pm.  You can see where this is going, of course.  No F1U! tonight, hopefully Monday.  Which is particularly annoying, as I'm on 10 hours of mandatory overtime next week.  But gee whillikers, something up there apparently doesn't want watching the French Grand Prix.

...eep.

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June 23, 2018

F1 Quals: France 2018

Wow, did this day get away from me!  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of France:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.271 1:30.645 1:30.029
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.776 1:31.227 1:30.147
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.820 1:30.751 1:30.400
4 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:31.531 1:30.818 1:30.705
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:31.910 1:31.538 1:30.895
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.567 1:30.772 1:31.057
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:32.394 1:32.016 1:32.126
8 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:32.538 1:32.055 1:32.635
9 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:32.169 1:31.510 1:32.930
10 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:32.083 1:31.472 DNF
11 False Esteban! Force India
1:32.786 1:32.075
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:32.949 1:32.115
13 Sergio Perez Force India
1:32.692 1:32.454
14 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:32.447 1:32.460
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:32.804 1:32.820
16 Meatloaf Alonso McLaren Renault 1:32.976

17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso
1:33.025

18 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:33.162

19 Sergey, Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:33.636

20 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:33.729


No huge surprises at the top of the grid.  Paul Ricard is the sort of circuit that rewards high horsepower, and for all its imagined faults, the Merc engine is still the best out there.  It stands to reason that they'd be on pole.

What REALLY makes no sense is the Sauber of Charles AMX-30 making it into Q3, and legitimately outpacing Haas for 8th.  That's quite the accomplishment for a team as down on their luck as Sauber... this AMX-30 kid looks to be quite good, y'know?

There's a decent chance of rain during the race tomorrow... let's hope so, it'll liven up a race that's looking like a snoozer... Paul Ricard is a great test track, but for racing it appears to be missing a certain something.  And it causes headaches, too.

Race in the morning, F1U! after.  See ya then!

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June 18, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: France 2018

Zut allors, mes amies!  Break out the cheese and mimes, because we're headed back to France for the first time since 2008... merde!  But vive la difference, we're not going back to that awful, awful circuit at Mangy-Curs!  Instead we're headed to Circuit Paul Ricard, hon hon hon!  Here's le track map:


This should be a fast track, but I'm not sure where the passing is going to be.  If you watch this lap by Lewis Hamilton, the place seems awfully narrow, and despite appearances there's actually a penalty for getting off-track.  Those stripes are legendarily abrasive, like they're made out of a mix of 4-grit sandpaper and thumbtacks.  I exaggerate, of course, but you do not want to go out there if you like your tires.

Back in the old days, that Turn 8-9 chicane didn't exist.  These days, cars would be hittin' 210mph going into Turn 10 like as not, and with the downforce and sticky tires we've got, there might not be a whole lot of deceleration going on.  As is, it's gonna be fast as hell anyway.

Broadcast schedule is... well, it's limited.
Saturday
Practice 3: 6a - 730a  live on ESPNews
Quals: 9a - 1030a  live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of France: 9a - 12n live on ESPN2

I'm not hopeful for a good race, but we shall see!

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June 09, 2018

F1 Quals: Canada 2018

Wow, hey, look at the time!  Huh.  Took me long enough.  For that, I apologize... I didn't get home from lunch until nearly 4pm, watched the quals, and then it was, like 645pm and I was exhausted.  So I took a nap, and now here we are.  But enough of this, you're not here to revel in the mundane existence that is the life of a Wonderduck, you want to know about the exciting times of the F1 Circus!  Well, here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix du Canada:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:11.710 1:11.524 1:10.764
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:11.950 1:11.514 1:10.857
3 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:12.008 1:11.472 1:10.937
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.835 1:11.740 1:10.996
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:11.725 1:11.620 1:11.095
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:12.459 1:11.434 1:11.116
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:12.795 1:11.916 1:11.973
8 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:12.577 1:12.141 1:12.084
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:12.689 1:12.097 1:12.168
10 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:12.702 1:12.395 1:12.671
11 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:12.680 1:12.606
12 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:12.587 1:12.635
13 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:12.945 1:12.661
14 LeMans Alonso McLaren Renault 1:12.979 1:12.856
15 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:12.998 1:12.865
16 Pierre Ghastly Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:13.047

17 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:13.590

18 Sergey, Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:13.643

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:14.593


I never thought I'd say this, but "poor Lettuce."  You'll note there's only 19 cars listed... the Haas of Lettuce Grosjean never made it to the track in Q1, having had the most impressive dose of power unit problems we've seen in a long time.  He was smoking as he pulled out of the garage, and once he turned onto pit lane headed for the exit, he managed to lay down just an epic smoke screen.  No worries about mosquitos for the rest of the weekend, that's for sure.  But he hits a marmot on Friday, now this happens on Saturday... I'm terrified for what'll occur in the race.  We may see the first F1 car in the St Lawrence Seaway tomorrow.

As far as the rest of Quals went, do you realize that this is the first time in four years that Lewis Hamilton isn't on pole?  Say what you want about the guy, and plenty of people have, but he owns this track.  He never got hooked up today though, never managed anything but scruffy lap after scruffy lap.  He knew it, too.  The two Ferraris looked amazing, clearly the class of the session.  The only thing that kept us from an all Red Car front row was a brief moment of lost grip early in Kimi Raikkonen's last try.  

DH Verstappen has to be muttering to himself.  After leading the timesheets in all three practice sessions, the newly upgraded Ferrari engine and the Mercedes Party Mode proved too much for the Red Bull to deal with.  It's fast in the corners and under braking, but that advantage is nullified by the lack of power down that long, long back straight.  Still, they'll be starting on the hypersoft tires while Merc and Ferrari are on the harder ultrasofts, so they'll have the grip advantage.  The ultras do seem to be the tire of choice though... 

Race is in the afternoon... weather permitting, we'll be watching it live for once!

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June 07, 2018

F1 on TV: Canada 2018

So, so late!  Sorry folks, I've been on overtime this week, and it's been playing hob with my existence.  This is gonna have to be a quick one, here's the track map for the 2018 Grand Prix of Canada: 


I do love this circuit.  It's what Monaco would be if it was, y'know, fast and stuff.  And had marmots.

Here's the broadcast calendar:
Friday
Practice 1: 9a - 1030a  live on ESPNU
Practice 2: 1p - 230p  live on ESPNU
Saturday
Practice 3: 955a - 11a live on ESPN2
Quals: 1255p - 230p  live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Canada: 1230p - 3p  live on ABC

All over the damn place this weekend!  Quals report sometime that afternoon (I might be having lunch with the folks), F1U! sometime after the race.  See ya then!!!

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May 26, 2018

F1 Quals: Monaco 2018

Another beautiful day in the Principality, all sun and blue skies and yachts in the harbor.  And a bunch of loud F1 cars driving through the streets.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:12.013 1:11.278 1:10.810
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:12.415 1:11.518 1:11.039
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.460 1:11.584 1:11.232
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:12.639 1:11.391 1:11.266
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:12.434 1:12.002 1:11.441
6 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:13.028 1:12.188 1:12.061
7 LeMans Alonso McLaren Renault 1:12.657 1:12.269 1:12.110
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:12.950 1:12.286 1:12.130
9 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:12.848 1:12.194 1:12.154
10 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:12.941 1:12.313 1:12.221
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:13.065 1:12.411
12 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:12.463 1:12.440
13 Sergey Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:12.706 1:12.521
14 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:12.829 1:12.714
15 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:12.930 1:12.728
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso
1:13.179

17 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:13.265

18 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:13.323

19 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:13.393


You may notice that there's only 19 cars shown, instead of 20.  DH Verstappen did it again, wrecking in Practice 3, breaking his front suspension and damaging his gearbox in the process.  Red Bull could not get his car repaired in time for Quals, and so he'll start at the Steward's discretion.

Which has got to be a blow to the team, because his partner in crime, Smiley Ricciardo, turned in the fastest lap ever around Monaco to take pole.  I'd like to point out that ten years ago Felipe Massa's pole speed was 1:15.787.  Even the slowest qualifier this year was almost 2.5 seconds faster than that.  Anyway, Red Bull had owned the race weekend, finishing 1-2 in every session thus far, and were expected to do so in quals.  No such luck.  I'm beginning to wonder if what we're seeing nowadays is what DH Verstappen is... crash-happy and quick to blame others.

Much can happen between now and the end of the race, but it sure is lookin' good for Ricciardo.  F1U! will follow along sometime afterwards... got the Indy 500 to look at too!  See ya.

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May 23, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: Monaco 2018

Monaco.


To your common American, the word conjures up images of impeccably tailored men gambling away fortunes in the Casino while impossibly beautiful women try to catch their eye.  International spies lurk in every corner, camouflaged by supercars idling in the French Riviera night.  

To your common Formula 1 fan, it means "oh god I hope it rains."  There would be no way the sport would be racing on the streets of Monaco if the race was proposed today.  Too narrow, too unsafe, too small.  But yet, every year, here we are:

And we as fans love it.  It's the counter-American type of racing.  Here, we go for monster high-banked ovals or 500 mile long races.  Last year, the two worlds came together when Fernando Alonso and McLaren took a run at the Indianapolis 500, and former F1 driver Takuma Sato won the race.

No such luck this year... Alonso will be driving at LeMans, for example... but it really is the greatest day for auto racing in the year, Sunday is.  Monaco, Indy, then Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600.  But it all starts at the tiny little constitutional monarchy with a nice harbor.

ESPN has done us good this time 'round... here's the schedule
Thursday
Practice 1: 4a - 530a, live on ESPN2
Practice 2: 8a - 930a, live on ESPN2
Friday
...is traditionally an off day so the rich people can get out of town before the noise arrives.
Saturday
Practice 3: 5a - 630a, live  on ESPNews (be careful here... there are conflicting reports)
Quals: 8a - 930a, live on ESPN2
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Monaco: 8a - 11a, live on ESPN, the real deal.  There's also a replay on ABC in the afternoon.

So there's your weekend!  Get comfy, order a deep-dish pizza, and enjoy the racing!  F1Update! will be along afterwards... I promise.

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May 15, 2018

Until Further Notice

Due to ongoing joint problems vis a vis my hip, I'm really unable to spend enough time in front of my computer at home to do writeups.  I'm working on that, of course, but right now it just hurts too much to spend the two hours or so it takes.


A doctor's appointment is a week from friday... it would have been sooner, but he's on vacation... so hopefully that'll shake something loose.

Of course, if something big occurs, I'll show up to pontificate... I'm still a fan, after all.  Oh, and Spain was a Lewis Hamilton Special... he ran away and hid for the entire race.  Never any doubt in my mind, that's for sure.

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May 12, 2018

F1 Quals: Spain 2018

A threat of rain hung over the circuit as the clock began its countdown on "GoFast Day" at Barcalounger.  It never came, but the qualifying result was interesting nevertheless... here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Spain:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.633 1:17.166 1:16.173
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.674 1:17.111 1:16.213
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:17.031 1:16.802 1:16.305
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:17.483 1:17.071 1:16.612
5 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:17.411 1:17.266 1:16.816
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:17.623 1:17.638 1:16.818
7 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:18.169 1:17.618 1:17.676
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:18.276 1:18.100 1:17.721
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:18.480 1:17.803 1:17.790
10 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:18.305 1:17.699 1:17.835
11 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:18.885 1:18.323
12 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso Honda 1:18.550 1:18.463
13 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:18.813 1:18.696
14 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:18.661 1:18.910
15 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:18.740 1:19.098
16 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:18.923

17 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:19.493

18 Sergey,  Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:19.695

19 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:20.225


You'll note only 19 cars listed.  The 20th, Brendan Hartley's Toro Rosso, had a unfortunate vehicle/barrier interface right at the end of Practice 3 and the team could not get the car back together in time for Quals.

To be fair, the rear of the car was still attached until the workers picked it up.  THEN it fell off.

I'm not entirely sure how the two Mercs ended up on the front row, since at no time during the practice sessions or the other two Qualy periods did they look faster than the Ferraris.  Well, that and my DVR timed out with two minutes left in the session.  Apparently ESPN does not designate Formula 1 as "sports", thus not activating the automatic "extra hour" mode on my DVR.  Anyway, I've not seen the final runs of Q3 because of that.  I'm not gonna go out of my way to find 'em, either.  I'm grumpy that way.

So, an interesting grid for Sunday's race... let's see how it goes!

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May 11, 2018

F1 on ESPN2: Spain 2018

Finally, the Thundering Herd makes its way back to Europe and the real start of the F1 season.  This is when the teams begin to debut new parts, new wings, etc etc etc, so in theory we could have completely different results from the flyaway races.


Don't count on it, though.  Here's the track map for the 2018 Grand Prix of Spain.

That's just the way it is, somethings will never change.  Spain. Spain never changes.  Though they did resurface the track since last year so grip issues will be a possibility.  Or not.  It's hard to tell with these new cars.

We'll find out though... starting Saturday!
Saturday
Practice 3:  5a - 630a  live on ESPN2
Quals: 8a - 930a  live on ESPN2
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Spain: 730a - 10a  live on ESPN 2

Hopefully I'll have coverage afterwards.  See ya then!

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April 25, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: Azerbaijan 2018

My apologies for not getting this posted in any sort of timely fashion.  Between becoming old and the continuing problems with my hip, I'm limited to half-hour long stints at the computer more or less.  So no time to waste talking about myself, let's talk about Baku!  Here's the track map:


This is, of course, the circuit famous for its climb past a castle... really, as mentioned before, it's only a curtain wall... in a section of uphill track that's more narrow than anything you'll find at Monaco.  Then it's topped off by a stupidly long straight that, despite having a bend in the middle at Turn 20, is still totally flat out.  This is also the circuit where Seb Vettel and Lewis Hamilton had their little nose-and-tail show last year.  I'm sure we won't see anything quite as interesting this race, but one never knows, does one?

Here's ESPN's coverage schedule:
Saturday
Practice 3: 500a - 630a  live on ESPNews
Quals: 800a - 930a  live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan: 700a - 1000a  live on ESPN2

With any luck, an F1Update! will come along after.  See you then!

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April 18, 2018

We All Need This


While I haven't given up on the F1U! for China, I'm having difficulties actually doing it.  I know it's late already, but... 

...dammit.

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April 14, 2018

F1 Quals: China 2018

A gray, unpleasant-looking day greeted the teams and drivers as they worked on their vehicles with differing degrees of urgency.  Some, like Ferrari, were desultorily polishing the carbon-fiber bodywork to a mirror finish, knowing in their heart of hearts that a shiny car goes through the air better.  Some, like Williams, just stared at their cars with ill-disguised hatred.  And then you had the left side of the Red Bull garage, filled with a frantic but well controlled amount of energy bordering on panic.  


This because Smiley Ricciardo had a pretty comprehensive-looking engine kablammo with a half-hour remaining in P3, requiring an engine change.  On the positive side, they had a new Renault engine in their traveling kit.  On the negative, however, Renault never did finish putting it together before delivering it to the team... at least according to Christian Horner, Red Bull team boss.  So instead of just bolting it in place and away they go (ahem), they had to build the engine (including scavenging parts from the recently-deceased power unit) then attach the rest of the car to it.  There was no real chance they'd get it done in time for Ricciardo to qualify, but they tried anyway.  And got him out with two minutes left in Q1.  Where did he qualify?  How about the rest of the field?  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of China:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:32.171 1:32.385 1:31.095
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:32.474 1:32.286 1:31.182
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:32.921 1:32.063 1:31.625
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.283 1:31.914 1:31.675
5 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:32.932 1:32.809 1:31.796
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:33.877 1:32.688 1:31.948
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:33.545 1:32.494 1:32.532
8 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:33.464 1:32.931 1:32.758
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:33.315 1:32.970 1:32.819
10 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:33.238 1:32.524 1:32.855
11 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:33.359 1:32.986
12 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:33.585 1:33.057
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:33.428 1:33.232
14 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:33.824 1:33.505
15 Death To Flying Things Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:34.013 1:33.795
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:34.062

17 Pierre Ghastly Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:34.101

18 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:34.285

19 AMX-30 Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:34.454

20 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:34.914


Smiley made it to Q3, ending up in sixth.  Pretty sure those mechanics earned their pay this week.  The rest of qualifying, however, wasn't all that much of a much.  The Ferraris simply slapped down the Mercs, and even when Bottas topped Q2, you just knew the red team had it under control. And so it was.

There is talk that the Mercs are set up for warmer weather, expected at race-time.  It was 53 degrees and windy during quals, and the track wasn't much warmer... hard to bring tires up to temps like that!  If Ferrari set their cars up to heat the tires quickly, they'd get the advantage during quals, but would possibly overheat their tires if the track gets warmer.

We shall see... race is late tonight/early tomorrow!

PS - so much for Toro Rosso, huh?

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April 11, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: China 2018

Back to back overseas races are hard for everybody involved with F1.  Do a whole race weekend in East Corner-Of-Nowhere, pack up, fly a couple thousand miles, unpack in West Where-The-Hell-Are-We, then go racing again.  This time around, you're looking at about a 12 hour flight from Bahrain to Shanghai on Etihad Air, which includes a 2 hour layover in Abu Dhabi.  It looks like it's on a Boeing Dreamliner, so at least you've got that going for you.  Here's the track map for the 2018 Grand Prix of China:


As I mentioned last year, exactly the same as it's been since 2004.  Though there's been a resurgence in noting that the circuit is shaped like the Chinese character "shang", meaning "high" or "above" or "ascend"... or "up", maybe?  I dunno.  It's the first part of Shanghai... wait... does that mean it's "High hai"?

China has coughed up some good races in the past, often because of rain, so we can cross our fingers that we'll get another Bahrain-level event this weekend.  That'd be fun.  Here's the broadcast schedule for ESPN's coverage:

Friday
Practice 3: 10p-1130p  live on ESPNews
Saturday
Quals: 1a - 3a  live on ESPN2
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of China: 1a - 330a  live on ESPN2

For a wonder, ESPN came out and said that Quals and Races will be commercial-free for the rest of the season.  I'm okay with that.

See ya!

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