November 23, 2012

F1 Practice: Brazil 2012

The last Friday of the 2012 F1 season brought us what might well be the last sunny day of the weekend; the forecast for Saturday is for rain which might hold off long enough to get Quals in the books.  Sunday, on the other hand, calls for a grumpy old man (Bernie?) with a long beard (not Bernie) building an ark in the infield section of Interlagos.  Probably because Ferrari is sending the team jets over São Paolo every half-hour, dumping oil drums of silver iodide into the clouds.  Hey, anything to help HWMNBN, right? 

It turns out that there's a lot of lasts happening this Sunday.  It's the last time the Legendary Announce Team will be together on SPEED.  I've already gone over my views of that tragedy, so I won't rehash them here, but I will point out that they were reminiscing something fierce during the P2 broadcast and were incredibly funny in the process.  If you've watched a few races in the past, Quals might be worth watching for that alone.

It's also the last race Shiv Hamilton will be driving for McLaren.  Fresh off his victory last weekend here in the good ole U-S-of-A, he's apparently trying to go out in style; he was the fastest in both P1 and P2.  He's already admitted that he doesn't expect to be competing for victories next year with Mercedes, so this might be the last chance he has for a win in a while.  There's also the shot to play spoiler in the great HWMNBN vs Sebby V battle, can't forget that.

Sunday is also probably going to be the last time we see HRT ever.  They've been running on the proverbial shoestring for the past three seasons, and reports are that everybody who isn't on the team's flyaway crew has been pink-slipped.  The race team will get their termination notices upon return to the factory in Spain after Sunday.  At this point, I'm seriously rooting for them to earn a point on Sunday... the influx of cash from the TV revenue they'd earn might be enough to keep 'em alive.  Otherwise, we'll probably have another SuperAguri situation, where bits and pieces go up for auction.  That'd be a flat-out shame... they gave it a good shot and deserved some small success, instead of being a constant laughing-stock.

Then finally, this is also the final weekend for one of the greats of the sport.  It just won't be the same without Gandalf Kobayashi, who seems to have lost his seat at Sauber in 2013 Michael "Slappy" Schumacher.  Consider this: if either Vettel or HWMNBN win the championship, it'll be the third of their career.  Schumacher has SEVEN, including five in a row (2000-2004).  He has more wins than many of the drivers in the field has starts.  He has over 300 starts, 68 poles, 77 fast laps, and on and on.  The past three years have not been kind to his legacy, but he should still go down in history as arguably the greatest F1 driver of all time (and if not, one of the top three for sure).  I'm not going to say that I like him, because that'd be a flat-out lie, but one can't be a F1 fan without acknowledging his level of excellence.  His helmet this week bears a legend: "Life is about passions.  Thank you for sharing mine."  That about sums it up.

Quals in the morning.

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