April 29, 2017

F1 Quals: Russia 2017


We haven't seen this result since 2008.  Think about how long it's been since then.  Go on, think about it.  Okay, that's enough.  Now what am I talking about?  Let's look at the provisional grid for the 2017 Grand Prix of Mother Russia:

Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Seb Vettel Ferrari 1:34.493 1:34.038 1:33.194
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:34.953 1:33.663 1:33.253
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.041 1:33.264 1:33.289
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.409 1:33.760 1:33.767
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:35.560 1:35.483 1:34.905
6 Not Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:35.828 1:35.049 1:35.110
7 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:35.301 1:35.221 1:35.161
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:35.507 1:35.328 1:35.285
9 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:36.185 1:35.513 1:35.337
10 False Esteban Force India Mercedes 1:35.372 1:35.729 1:35.430
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:35.827 1:35.948
12 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:36.279 1:35.964
13 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:35.984 1:35.968
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:36.408 1:36.017
15 Indy Alonso McLaren Honda 1:36.353 1:36.660
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:36.462

17 Stoffelwaffel McLaren Honda 1:37.070

18 Pascal's Wager Sauber Ferrari 1:37.332

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:37.507

20 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:37.620

It's Ferraris' first front-row lockout since Raikkonen and Massa did it for Ferrari at Mangy-Curs  in 2008, and the first time since Singapore 2015 that there isn't a Mercedes on the front row at all.  And know what?  It wasn't even particularly close.  Sure, Bottas made it look good, but Hamilton couldn't even manage one of his patented 'fast-lap-out-of-his-arse' laps, let alone a pole lap.  One never got the impression that the red cars weren't going to have run of the place at the end of the day, not after only being a half-second off the pace in Q1... while on the super-soft tires when everybody else was on the faster ultra-softs.  That's a Mercedes thing, being quicker on the harder rubber in quals, and they had it turned on them.  Feels good, man.

Race in the morning, see ya then!

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April 25, 2017

F1 on TV: Russia 2017

Russia.  Sochi.  Боже мой.


What's there to say about Sochi?  It looks like it should be fun, but it's proven to be a dog in reality.  2016's race lasted exactly two turns before Nico Rosberg ran away with it.  2015 went to Lewis Hamilton, but only after Seb Vettel nearly killed a track marshal that had run out in front of him.  2014 was the first race after Jules Bianchi's accident, and nobody wanted to be there.  Too many right-angle turns ruins the flow of the circuit, never letting the drivers get into a groove.  It's also proven to be remarkably gentle on tires, though of course we've got new compounds this year.  I expect the new aero packages to not be of much importance here... it helps on turns, yes, but not stupid-slow ones like Turns 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.  Which is most of them.

Well, the proud tartars of the Legendary Announce Team will do their level best to cover the race, lest the gulag beckon.  Here's the broadcast schedule:
Practice 2: 7a - 830a  live on NBCSN
Quals:  7a - 9a  live on CNBC
2017 Grand Prix of Russia: 7a - 10a live on NBCSN

All times are Pond Central.  Make your adjustments accordingly.  Afterwards, F1Update! will be along eventually.  I'm sure you're thrilled by this announcement.  See you then!

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April 16, 2017

Bahrain 2017 Gonna Be Delayed

This has been one of those days where you start out behind the clock when you wake up and just fall farther and farther behind the longer the day goes on.  But I got my taxes done, and thanks again to H&R Block for their wonderful website... they've made the unpleasant chore of doing your federal taxes easy, and the downright evil chore of doing Illinois' taxes even easier.  After that, though, there were little glitches here and there throughout the day that, in the end, saw me not watching Bahrain until late afternoon.  A much needed nap didn't end until 1030pm this evening, and dammit, I want to watch some anime this week.

So the F1U for Bahrain is going to be delayed for a day.  While you wait, here's the Easter Bunny just destroying Teddy Roosevelt for your enjoyment and here's the sequel to last year's greatest baseball commercial.

Thanks for waiting.

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April 15, 2017

F1 Quals: Bahrain 2017

Of all the results I imagined I'd see when I got home from work/lunch today, I gotta admit, I didn't expect this one.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2017 Grand Prix of Bahrain:

Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.041 1:29.555 1:28.769
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.814 1:29.535 1:28.792
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.037 1:29.596 1:29.247
4 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:31.667 1:30.497 1:29.545
5 Mumbles Räikkönen Ferrari 1:30.988 1:29.843 1:29.567
6 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:30.904 1:30.307 1:29.687
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:31.057 1:30.169 1:29.842
8 Felipe Not Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:31.373 1:30.677 1:30.074
9 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:31.691 1:30.857 1:30.763
10 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:31.458 1:30.899 1:31.074
11 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:31.531 1:30.923
12 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:31.748 1:31.168
13 Pascal's Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:31.995 1:31.414
14 False Esteban Force India Mercedes 1:31.774 1:31.684
15 Indy Alonso McLaren Honda 1:32.054 DNF
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:32.118

17 Snuffy Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:32.313

18 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:32.318

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:32.543

20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:32.900

This is Valtteri Bottas' first career pole, and it's his own damn bad luck it had to come at Bahrain, where starting second is actually better.  That's the clean side of the track, as it turns out.  Still, you gotta hand it to him... it isn't everybody that can say they beat Hamilton to the pole anywhere!

There's nothing particularly shocking in the rest of the grid.  However, we do now know who will be replacing Indy Alonso when he comes to America instead of going to Moncao:  Jenson "I'm Not Retired Yet Either" Button.

Race at a normal time tomorrow morning... F1U! sometime afterwards!  See ya then.

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Quals will be late...

Just to give y'all a head's-up... I'm back on mandatory overtime at work, 10 hours minimum.  When quals is going on, I'll be at work, trying to get four or five of those hours on the clock.  Then I'm having a late lunch with Ph.Duck and his wife, RN(ret).Duck... I don't expect to be home until 4pm at the earliest, probably closer to 5pm.  I'll get the grid up asap.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em...

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April 13, 2017

F1 on TV: Bahrain 2017

Okay, let's get this out of the way quickly to get to the big news.  Here's the track map for the Grand Prix of Bahrain:

Here's the broadcast schedule, courtesy of the Legendary Announce Team:

Practice 2: 10a - 1130a  live on NBCSN
Quals: 1130a - 1p  live on NBCSN
2017 Grand Prix of Bahrain:  10a - 1230p  live on CNBC

All times Pond Central.  Make sure you pay attention to the race being on CNBC.

Now, for the big news:

Fernando Alonso is going to miss Monaco.  Turns out he's got another gig that day.

You may have heard of it.  It's not been much of a secret that Alonso is frustrated as hell with the way his return to McLaren has gone, what with the car and engine sucking and all.  He's making a push for Racing's Triple Crown: wins at Monaco, Indy, and LeMans.  He'll be driving with the backing of McLaren-Honda, as part of the Andretti Motorsport stable.  Alonso says he'll only miss the one race, and will retake his seat in Canada a few weeks later.  We'll see.

The IndyCar world is stoked about this, too:

This is just f****** awesome. Welcome! - JR Hildebrand

Woo. I get to race against Fernando Alonso now that is cool. - Sage Karam

Obviously you need some balls to do it. I think that Alonso will handle it well. - Mikhail Aleshin

Welcome to the fastest motor race in the world Fernando Alonso! Great to have a world champion on the grid. - Max Chilton, former F1 driver

We’ll see how he comes up to speed and stuff like that but I’m sure he’ll be fine. Alex (Rossi) won it, it’s a decent comparison, I think, to him. - Marco Andretti, making this the first time Alexander Rossi has been compared in any way to Fernando Alonso.

If I were to give Fernando Alonso some advice into really getting ingrained in the Andretti Autosport team, I think it’s actually going to be pretty easy. He already knows Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi from their stints in F1. So that’s done and dusted.  I don’t know if he’s a fisherman but he maybe should brush up on that a little bit because all Ryan Hunter-Reay really talks about is boats. Other than that I think it’s going to be pretty easy for him. - James Hinchcliffe

Indy just became a must-watch.

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April 08, 2017

F1 Quals: China 2017

For a wonder, it didn't rain!  In many ways, that's great!  Fantastic!  Wonderful!  In other ways, though, it means that there weren't going to be any monkey wrenches thrown into the works and thing'll go the way they have for the past few years.  Here's the provisional grid:

Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.333 1:32.406 1:31.678
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.078 1:32.391 1:31.864
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:33.684 1:32.552 1:31.865
4 Mumbles Räikkönen Ferrari 1:33.341 1:32.181 1:32.140
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:34.041 1:33.546 1:33.033
6 Felipe Not Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:34.205 1:33.759 1:33.507
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:34.453 1:33.636 1:33.580
8 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:34.657 1:33.920 1:33.706
9 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:34.440 1:34.034 1:33.719
10 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:33.986 1:34.090 1:34.220
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:34.567 1:34.150
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:34.942 1:34.164
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:34.499 1:34.372
14 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:34.892 1:35.046
15 Tony Snazzy Sauber Ferrari 1:34.963 DNP

16 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:35.023

17 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:35.223

18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:35.279

19 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing

20 False Esteban Force India Mercedes 1:35.496

Okay, yes Lewis Hamilton is on pole... again... but the gap back to Vettel's Ferrari is less than .200 of a second.  Which means essentially nothing, as it appears that the Red Cars have better race pace than single-lap.  I'm personally amazed that Bottas is .001 seconds behind... how can two cars be so closely matched?  Did the Finn turn a little too hard at one place?  Did he not get on the gas fast enough?  What???

The first four cars on the grid broke the all-time track record, set by Slappy Schumacher in 2004, of 1:32.238.  Again, that was the V10 era with practically no limits on what sort of aero protuberances you could have...

In other performances of note, Embryo Verstappen was dealing with an engine software issue when Sauber's Tony Snazzy did bad things to his car and the track barriers.  All he could manage was 19th as a result.  Haas's Lettuce Grosjean spun, suffered a puncture, then was dinged for not slowing down in the waved-double-yellow area caused by Snazzy's wreck.  He'll be starting from the back.

Everything else was pretty standard, which is pretty impressive considering the near-total lack of practice time on Friday.  All of this means we should be in for an exciting race on Sunday when the rains come... and yes, rain is predicted.  Buckle them there seatbelts!

F1U! will be along sometime on Sunday.  See ya then-ish!

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April 05, 2017

F1 on NBCSN: China 2017

Shanghai... The Pearl of the Orient.  The showpiece of the Chinese economy.  The most populous city proper in the world.  So why the hell can't it sell out the Formula 1 Grand Prix of China???  Here's the trackmap:

Same as it's been since 2004.  Longest straightaway in F1.  I love that Turns 1-4 complex, for whatever reason.  It just looks like Hermann Tilke threw a french curve on his drafting table and said "yep, that's good."  Or his cat got involved.  Whatever, it's not my favorite circuit on the calendar, but it's hardly my least favorite.  It's just... there.  And while you would think that the new aero rules will turn this circuit on its ear, I've seen a report that estimates that the cars are going to be something like three kilograms short on fuel.  With the increased drag and higher engine output guzzling petrol, they think the cars can't legally have enough gas on board to finish the race!  They can carry 105kg, but will need 108.  Lift and coast, lift and coast... and hope for safety cars and rain.  Well, there's a slight chance of rain at least for race day.  That'll keep down the smog at least.

Speaking of race day, the Legendary Announce Team will be doing their level best to make everything exciting!  Here's the broadcast schedule:
Practice 2: 1am - 230am live on NBCSN
Quals: 2am - 330am  live on NBCSN
Grand Prix of China: 1230a - 330am  live on NBCSN

...of course, all times are Pond Central.  Sometime after the race, the F1Update! team will get off their lazy kiesters and do their usual writeup.  Or something.  We'll see you then, then!

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