September 09, 2006
It's hard to remember that last year McLaren and Renault were battling for both titles, Ferrari was a distant third, and Schumi was nowhere to be seen.
How times have changed... except Kimi got his third pole of the year today (by .002 seconds!), Schumi was second, Nick Heidfeld kicked all sorts of tail getting into third, Felipe Massa was fourth, and Fernando Alonso was fifth.
Except he wasn't.
Alonso had a bad day. One of his rear tires came completely apart with just a handful of minutes left in Q3. It ripped holy crepe out of his aft bodywork, and he got zero time to qual. He pitted with something like 1:40 left... and it takes 1:22 to get around the course. He made it back to the line with 2 seconds to spare...
...and that's where the FIA (Ferrari Is All) stewards come in. During the run back to the line, Fernando Alonso was judged to have 'impeded' Felipe Massa. Now, I've watched the tape of those last few minutes a few times, and I'm not sure where the impeding took place. It sure wasn't through the time-trap, when the Ferrari was over 214mph. In fact, from the TV coverage it looks quite clear that Massa wasn't anywhere CLOSE to the hustlin' Renault. They were in the same camera shot, though, and I guess that's enough for them.
And so, Alonso had his three best Q3 times deleted, dropping him to 10th on the grid. Bye-bye championship.
By the way, remember when Schumi straight-lined two chicanes and didn't let Pete Rose by in Hungary? Where were the FIA stewards then?
Oh right... Ferrari Is All.
I still don't know if Parky is retiring. I know what I HOPE he does, though.
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