November 24, 2018

F1 Quals: Abu Dhabi 2018

Even though it rained a few days ago, it's pretty safe to say that the weather in Abu Dhabi was hot and dry... though humid and cooling off because of a fairly strong breeze.  Still, pretty decent for today's session.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi:

Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.828 1:35.693 1:34.794
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:36.789 1:36.392 1:34.956
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:36.775 1:36.345 1:35.125
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:37.010 1:36.735 1:35.365
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:37.117 1:36.964 1:35.401
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:37.195 1:36.144 1:35.589
7 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:37.575 1:36.732 1:36.192
8 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:37.124 1:36.580 1:36.237
9 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:36.936 1:36.814 1:36.540
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:37.569 1:36.630 1:36.542
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:37.757 1:36.982
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:37.619 1:37.132
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:37.934 1:37.309
14 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:37.255 1:37.541
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:37.890 1:37.743
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso
1:37.994

17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso
1:38.166

18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:38.577

19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:38.635

20 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:38.682


This is the first time in F1 history that a team has had five consecutive front-row lockouts at a track.  Yeah, Mercedes likes Yas Marina.  This is also Hamilton's 11th pole of the season.  11 out of 21 races... we're really watching one of the all-time greats, you know that?  Sure, the car helps, but Lewis Hamilton seriously has a chance to be the best in F1 history.  Now we just need to see if his engine holds up.  Apparently his power unit was riding the ragged edge of annihilation for much of the race in Brazil, and it definitely suffered some damage.  How much?  The team isn't sure themselves.  Either it'll hold together, or it will go kablammo and be Hamilton's first engine failure all year.

It seems very unlikely, but Haas still has a chance to finish fourth in the Constructor's Championship.  They just need to score 24 points more than Renault.  Remember, the points system is 25/18/15/12/10/8/6/4/2/1.  It's hard to imagine a realistic scenario where Haas scores 24 points, period, let alone outscore Renault by that much.  But I guess it's not impossible.

Race in the morning.  See you sometime afterwards!

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November 23, 2018

F1 on TV: Abu Dhabi 2018

And so we come to the end.  The last race of the season is upon us, and with it the ending of a legendary career.  But first, here's the track map of the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi:


No real changes to the layout, but one big change to the curbs.  In the past, Turn 20 has been infamous for the track limits being ignored.  It was common... normal... to see cars running so wide that they were practically only on the curbs, not on the asphalt.  This year, a new "sausage" curb has been installed, and mark my words, someone is going to badly damage their car on it either in quals or during the race.  It's high enough that a car will grind away most of its floor if it spends much time on it.  Indeed, DH Verstappen did exactly that in Practice 2 today, though the extend of the damage is unknown to me.

Sadly, this is the final F1 race weekend for Fernando Alonso, who is moving on to do... other racing things that aren't F1.  It's not because of the way McLaren has blown chunks the past few years and thus deprived him of any chance at all of another championship... or even of one more win... just ask him!  However, that can't be 100% true.  He's still a top-level driver, after all... anybody doubt that if he was in a Ferrari or Mercedes he'd be a championship contender?  I've gotta admit, he's rehabilitated himself in my eyes.  This is the man that for years was nicknamed HWMNBN for his $100 million backstab of McLaren a decade ago.  And yet, he's escaped that moniker.

Also, just officially announced on Thursday, Williams is bringing Robert Kubica back as a driver in 2019.  It's a great story for Formula 1.  Great young star terribly injured in a crash, works his way back to the top level of racing despite his right arm having had nearly 14000 surgeries (I exaggerate).  I'm on record stating that I think he's an idiot, and he was over four seconds slower than the fastest car today in Practice 1... allegedly they were doing setup work... and from watching the in-car cameras his right hand appears to be useless.  He's doing all the shifting, both up and down, and all the adjustments on the steering wheel, with his left hand.  His right hand is just keeping the wheel straight while he does all that.

Anyway, yeah, I mean, I hope it works out for Williams and Kubica, I really do... even if I don't think he deserves to be back in the seat, it's still a fantastic human interest story.  Who knows, perhaps he'll surprise us all.

Quals in the morning... see ya then!

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November 10, 2018

F1 Quals: Brazil '66 in 2018

I don't understand Formula 1 anymore.  First it rained but nobody seemed to care.  Then drivers forgot how to drive, but nobody was penalized.  Then a driver decided to break everything in a fit of pique, and he didn't get a grid penalty.  Then it didn't rain but everybody freaked out anyway.  And then the announcers thought one of the lakes was rain.  Brazil: if you're not confused, you're not in Brazil!  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Brazil '66:

Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:08.464 1:07.795 1:07.281
2 DA Vettel Ferrari 1:08.452 1:07.776 1:07.374
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:08.492 1:07.727 1:07.441
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:08.452 1:08.028 1:07.456
5 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:08.205 1:08.017 1:07.778
6 Frowny Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:08.544 1:08.055 1:07.780
7 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:08.754 1:08.579 1:08.296
8 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:08.667 1:08.335 1:08.492
9 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:08.735 1:08.239 1:08.517
10 Pierre Ghastly Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:09.046 1:08.616 1:09.029
11 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:08.474 1:08.659
12 Lawsuit Perez Force India Mercedes 1:09.217 1:08.741
13 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:09.264 1:08.770
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:09.009 1:08.834
15 Sergey Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:09.259 1:10.381
16 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:09.269

17 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:09.280

18 V8S Alonso McLaren Renault 1:09.402

19 Veruca Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:09.441

20 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:09.601


I said that I didn't understand F1 anymore, and this Quals session just made that totally clear in that I couldn't follow what was actually going on.  Nothing seemed to be happening the way I'm used to and I can't quite put my finger on why.  The only thing I got out of it is that Ferrari got sneaky, managed to qualify on the hardest rubber compound in Q2, while everybody else was on either the softest or the medium.  So not only will Ferrari be fast, and at the top of the grid, but they'll be able to go longer than anybody else in the Top 10, too.

Fortunately for DA Vettel, he's not going to get penalized for his little contretemps in Q2.  See, cars are randomly selected during Quals to be weighed during the sessions, just to make sure everybody is conforming to standards... and since it's random, you can't cheat without risking getting ejected.  Vettel was selected as he was coming in for new tires, which caused a little problem.  See, it was looking like rain, so you really wanted to get laps done before the moisture made the track undriveable.  So Vettel hurried over to the weighbridge, which was blocked by an orange cone... don't move in until the cone is removed... and promptly kicked the cone into another city.  Then he drove onto the scale pads and did NOT turn off his engine, which is required.  He then started waving his hands in the air like he was trying to land a Dauntless on a carrier.  Eventually he got settled, the car was weighed, and he drove off to his pits, screaming a blue streak as he went.  Except those scale pads?  They're NOT designed to be used as takeoff points, so his rear wheels basically kicked them in the opposite direction from the one the cone went.  This destroys the weighbridge.  For a while, it looked like DA Vettel was going to be kicked out of Quals.  Then there was thought he'd get a grid penalty.  As it turned out, he was hit with a €25000 fine and a non-driving reprimand, which means he was taken to the principals office and hit on the hands with a ruler.  Oh, why "DA"?  It stands for "dumb@ss," which he's proven to be this season.  Wear it with pride, DA.

Race in the noonish on ESPN2, I think.  See ya then and there.

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November 09, 2018

F1 on TV: Brazil '66... 2018

Yep, Brazil.  Home of Interlagos, "Between The Lakes."  Also one of only two places that drivers have been attacked via attempted hijacking recently... and the other one was in the middle of a revolution at the time, so take from that what you will.  Here's the track map.


Apparently the start/finish line has been moved.  Or more correctly, I saw video footage of the start/finish line being waterblasted off the track surface, I only assume they put down a new one.  I hope they did... an infinitely long Brazillian Grand Prix would drive me to drink... poison.

In other less-than-important news, it appears that Williams may or may not have offered Robert Kubica a race seat next year.  There's been so many differnet headlines, tweets, and other posts popping up that I don't think anybody is really sure what's what.  As much as I liked Koobs back in the day... the only Pole in F1... I am currently of the opinion that he's a f*cking moron who doesn't deserve to be offered a drive in a taxi, let alone in F1.  This is a driver who was anointed as The Golden Child.  He had a win at the 2008 Canadian GP a year after having that amazing wreck there.  He was actually tabbed as being the best pure driver in F1 in 2011... better than Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, all of 'em.  He had Formula 1 in the palm of his hand.  It was only a matter of time before he won a championship.  Kinda like DH Verstappen, just with a bigger nose and lips smaller than his entire head.

And then he threw it all away in a stupid piss-ant rally race in Italy.  He was there because "racers gotta race," and he wanted to go racing.  And then he managed to impale his car on the end of a metal highway barrier which ripped up his leg and nearly amputated his hand and his arm.  Surgery saved them, and they function.. but only a little bit.  Go ahead, guess which arm was damaged.  So instead of becoming the King of F1, he became the King of Arm Surgeries, having something like 17 in total.  And now he might be back.  Dumb*ss threw away what could have been a special career just because he wanted to go hooning a Skoda around the Italian countryside.  Moron.

Race is on Sunday, Quals are tomorrow.  More then!

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