August 22, 2015

F1 Quals: Belgium 2015

Another day of blue skies and perfect weather at Spa-Francopants... something is obviously wrong with the environment if we can go two days without rain at this track.  But how did the good F1 folk do on the track?  Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2015 Grand Prix of Belgium:

Pos. Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:48.908 1:48.024 1:47.197
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:48.923 1:47.955 1:47.655
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:49.026 1:49.044 1:48.537
4 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus 1:49.353 1:48.981 1:48.561
5 Sergio Perez Force India 1:49.006 1:48.792 1:48.599
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:49.664 1:49.042 1:48.639
7 Felipe Not Nasr Massa Williams 1:49.688 1:48.806 1:48.685
8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:49.568 1:48.956 1:48.754
9 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:49.264 1:48.761 1:48.825
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:49.109 1:49.065 1:49.771
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:49.499 1:49.121
12 Kid Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:49.469 1:49.228
13 Sony Ericsson Sauber 1:49.523 1:49.586
14 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:49.288 No Time

15 Embryo Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:49.831 No Time

16 Felipe Not Massa Nasr Sauber 1:49.952

17 Jenson Button McLaren 1:50.978

18 HWIFernando AlonsoA McLaren 1:51.420

19 Will Stevens Manor 1:52.948

20 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:53.099


Oh look, there's a Mercedes on pole... that's never happened before!  And Lewis Hamilton is driving?  I'm shocked I tell you, shocked.

Actually, the surprising thing is that Vettel is 9th after completely peeing a good final hot lap down his firesuit's leg at the final chicane.  The other Ferrari never made it out of Q2 after having existential car failure.  Everything else was basically as we've come to expect.

Except for one thing.  The two McLarens have accomplished something never before seen in F1... between them, they've racked up 105 places worth of grid penalties for this race!  Basically both cars have completely new power units in them, from transmission to ICE to batteries.  As McLaren/Honda has pretty much used their allotment of component changes for the season, they knew this was going to happen no matter what they did.  Then came the rule change at Hungary that said that if a car could not serve their grid penalties in one race, they just start last on the grid... previously they had to take time penalties as well.  As McLaren was probably going to be starting towards the back anyway, why not take what realistically amounts to a two-spot penalty and change their engine every race from here on out?  Give Honda more data to work with for the rest of this season-long test session?

I figure the other teams would have problems aplenty with that, but for now?  Go for 100-spot penalties each, boys!

The race is tomorrow morning; I'll do my best to get something up tomorrow night... I'm having brunch with out-of-town family.  See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:27 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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August 16, 2015

F1 on TV: Belgium 2015

So the summer break for the F1 Circus is coming to an end.  The teams are putting their tents up, rebuilding the carnival rides, letting the efalumps out of their cages, and letting the clowns out of their cages.  Meanwhile, the drivers are returning from their vacation locations...  Jenson Button, for example, was in a villa in St Tropez during the break, and when thieves introduced knockout gas into the air conditioning they got about €300K worth of stuff.  Lewis Hamilton was spotted canoodling with singer Rihanna in Barbados and New York.  Kimi Raikkonen drank heavily, which means his break was business as usual.  And Fernando Alonso wore a hat.  But if we have to end our month-long slumber, there's no better place to do it than the track we head to now.  Here's the map for the Grand Prix of Belgium, at Spa-Francopants:

It's legendary.  It's fast as hell.  It's the longest circuit on the calendar.  It's steeply uphill from Turn 2 to Turn 4, then most of the rest of the lap from Turn 7 on is spent going downhill to Turn 17.  And it usually rains.  That's about all you need to know about Spa-Francoamerican, really.  It's a lovely, lovely track, a true classic, one the Circus has been coming to for hundreds of years.  They even raced here during WWII.  It's true!  In 1941, a Panzer III defeated two AMR 35s and a SOMUSA S35 in a rain-shortened race, and the 1944 race was won by a M22 Locust and a pair of M4s over German entries of a Panther, a new-model Panzer IV, and the very late entry of a Maus despite cold and snowy conditions.

I made that up.

In any case, it's the usual race schedule for us here in the US.  Let us take a look at what the Legendary Announce Team will be bringing us and when:
FRIDAY
Practice 2:  7a - 830a live on NBCSN
SATURDAY
Quals:  7a - 830a live on CNBC
SUNDAY
2015 Grand Prix of Belgium:  630a - 9a live on NBCSN

As is usual, I'll be watching everything, with a quals report sometime Saturday and a F1U! sometime on Sunday... however, I'm having brunch with six family members on race day, so I have no idea when I'll be able to watch, let alone write.  But we'll be here.  Eventually.  Look forward to it, won't you?  And if you aren't going to look forward to it, don't tell me.  Let me keep some of my illusions, 'k? 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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