August 23, 2014

F1 Quals: Belgium 2014

So.  We're back.  It rained.  What happened?  Take a look:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2:07.130 2:06.723 2:05.591
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2:07.280 2:06.609 2:05.819
3 4Time Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 2:10.105 2:08.868 2:07.717
4 HWMNBN Ferrari 2:10.197 2:08.450 2:07.786
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 2:10.089 2:08.989 2:07.911
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2:09.250 2:08.451 2:08.049
7 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2:11.081 2:08.901 2:08.679
8 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 2:09.885 2:08.646 2:08.780
9 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2:08.403 2:08.833 2:09.178
10 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2:10.529 2:09.272 2:09.776
11 Kid Kvyat STR-Renault 2:10.445 2:09.377
12 Jules Vergne STR-Renault 2:09.811 2:09.805
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2:10.666 2:10.084
14 Adrian F'n Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2:11.051 2:10.238
15 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2:10.898 2:11.087
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2:11.051 2:12.470
17 Crashtor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2:11.261

18 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2:11.267

19 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2:12.566

20 Esteban!
Sauber-Ferrari 2:13.414

21 Balrog Lotterer Caterham-Renault 2:13.469

22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2:14.438

In effect, nothing happened.  Since it was wet from the get-go (though it didn't rain in Q1, the track was so wet it may as well have been raining the whole time), nobody was at a particular advantage or disadvantage.  Which is weird... usually you'd see a Ferrari (for example) out in Q1, or a Caterham making it to Q3, or what have you... but not today.  We almost saw 4Time Vettel fail to make it to Q3, but no, he cleared it at the last moment.

Lewis Hamilton's initial reaction to qualifying second was his usual whinyness, but it changed to remembering what happened last year.  Then, he was the polesitter, and had his doors blown off down the Kemmel Straight by Seb Vettel on Lap 1.  What's to say that won't happen this year? 

Pay no attention to the two-second gap from the polesitter to the first non-Mercedes.  Lots of reasons are possible for that: Merc could have a wet-weather setup on their cars, for example, or they just like the wet-weather rubber.  It'll be a much smaller gap on raceday... which is Sunday!  See ya then!

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August 19, 2014

F1 on TV: Belgium 2014

The Summer Break is over.  The assembled teams of Formula 1 have loaded up the transporters and taken the Circus on the road.  Drivers have come back from their vacation spots, with Switzerland being a favorite in the past.  And this high-tech road show is aimed directly at the Walloon municipality of Stavelot in the east of Belgium.  There, in the vicinity of a small town named Francorchamps, is found a seven kilometer monster, the home of the Grand Prix of Belgium.  Here's the track map:

Of course, the overhead map hardly tells the whole story of Spa-Francopants.  Unlike most circuits on the calendar, Spa is all about elevation change.  From Turn 01, the track heads generally downhill until it reaches Eau Rouge.  From there to Raidillon, the circuit climbs steeply, then levels out until you reach Malmedy. From there until Blanchimont, the track descends, then climbs slightly back to the level of the start finish line.  All of which is raced at high speed; only the Bus Stop chicane could arguably called "slow." 

Unless it rains.  The hoary old gag about Spa is that if it isn't raining, it's getting ready to.  There's precipitation forecast for Quals, but the race is currently supposed to be dry... but this is the Ardennes.  We've seen rain appear out of nowhere before.

Of course, the Legendary Announce Team will have their slickers and bumbershoots ready as they provide their live coverage!  Here's the broadcast schedule:
7a - 830a: Practice 2 live on NBCSN
7a - 830a: Quals live on CNBC
630a - 9a: 2014 Grand Prix of Belgium live on NBCSN

Of course, the good sprouts of F1U! will be all over the weekend.  We'll see ya then!

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