Ignore The First Race, This Could Be A Good Season

Well last week the F1 season kicked off and looked set to carry on where 2012 left off, boring the pants off everyone.

And then we went to Malaysia.

Now the fun and games had nothing to do with the venue and rather a lot to do with the drivers.

Lewis Hamilton made an early pit stop, unfortunately at the wrong pit. Well I suppose he drove for McLaren for a long time and it will take some getting used to sailing past the mechanics in their white and orange overalls and carrying on to the guys in silver.

Then the Force Indias had problems with the front left on both their cars during their stops. Turns out they were trying to fit a nut onto a nut. Doh.

Torro Rosso sent their driver out from the pit just as a Caterham was pulling into the pit in front.

McLaren released JB before the front right mechanic had managed to tighten up his wheel.

Mercedes gambled on a low fuel load, hoping for rain or at least a safety car or two, for neither of these to appear and as early as the opening laps were advising their drivers of the need to conserve fuel. This ultimately led to second placed Hamilton having to back off when running second, allowing Vettel to pass, but his teammate Rosberg was told, rather firmly, not to pass as Ross Brawn “wanted to bring both cars home”. Rosberg said pretty please and made his eyes big and round to show how much he wanted to pass but Ross was not to be persuaded.

Nico might be feeling a bit hard done by but relations in the Mercedes team are probably a lot more cordial than over at Red Bull, where, with Mark Webber leading the drivers were allegedly told to hold position, which Seb Vettel took to mean close up on your teammate and pass him when he’s not expecting it.

Vettel’s celebrations were rather undermined by the obvious displeasure of Mark Webber, who demonstrated a rather fine line in throwing his toys out of the pram.

Let’s just hope it all carries on in the same vein, I love it when they get mardy with each other:>

And Now, The End Is Near…

The sports pages tell us the big news in F1 is whether Lewis Hamilton wil stay at McLaren or move to Mercedes next season. Do we give a flying fuck? Lewis has shown himself to be a brilliant driver, but appears to have a bit of a character flaw leading to a lack of judgement on occasion, ergo the number of times he collided with Felipe Massa back in 2010, the lying about slowing to let Jarno Trulli pass under a yellow flag in 2009,and just this season the posting of his teammates technical data on Twitter.

Perhaps its something to do with being a very, very good driver, Michael Schumacher has seven world championships to his name but also a long list of people he has pushed off the track, Damon Hill being the most memorable as their feud simmered over the seasons. David Coulthard was on the receiving end of Schumi’s favourite manoeuvre, misjudging his breaking distance and ploughing into the back of the car in front,Jean – Eric Vergne was the latest to suffer, although Sergio Perez and Bruno Senna have both been taken out in similar fashion by Herr Schumacher.

Perhaps it is time the old Maestro realised he is past it, as he was when he came back but God loves a tryer I guess.

In football John Terry announced his decision to retire with immediate effect from international football. This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with his football skills declining or otherwise, but rather he appears to be a bit miffed with the FA.

Of course, just because he isn’t going to play for England anymore doesn’t mean you won’t see him, in full England kit, celebrating on the pitch with his former team-mates after the match.

A Year Is A LOng Time In F1

Cast your mind back twelve months and note how things change. Last year we were bathed in sunshine whilst the Canadian GP start was delayed for several hours due to torrential rain. Jensen Button had problems in the pits but came through from last to overtake a spinning Seb Vettel on the final lap and take the chequered flag.

And this year? Europe is experiencing deluges of biblical proportions, the men’s final in Paris having to be finished off today, whilst several other sporting events have been delayed, postponed, or abandoned.

But in Canada it was beautiful. Jensen Button also suffered a reverse in his fortunes, not exactly starting from pole but finishing way down near the back of the grid. What a shame he seems to be so unflappable, a prize opportunity for a major strop having passed him by….

Last year Lewis Hamilton was showing how a strop should be done, seeking out Christian Horner to see if there was any chance of a seat in this year’s car. He was politely turned down and I should think he’s quite glad now, Red Bull are no longer the dominant force they were last year and Lewis claimed his first victory of the season, emerging from his second stop almost 10 seconds behind the one stopping leaders, but sailing majestically past them as their tyres began to fade.

Felipe Massa started well but then slipped down the field and Schumi recorded yet another DNF, despite his mechanics using the highly technical measure of bashing his rear wing with their fists in an effort to free his jammed DRS. I used to work for a chap whose favoured course of action when faced with anything mechanical was to hit it with a hammer. If he wasn’t dead I’d be thinking he’d got a new job working for Mercedes.

Grosjean hauled his Lotus into second place and I can’t see it being long before one or other of their drivers takes the chequered flag, and Sergio Perez had another excellent drive to take third, both of these drivers passing Vettel and Alonso in the closing laps.

All in all a good race with plenty of action, which is more than can be said for Monaco where the most exciting thing to happen was Martin Brundle being bundled into the swimming pool of the Red Bull yacht by Christian Horner as he interviewed race winner Mark Webber…

A Year Is A LOng Time In F1

Cast your mind back twelve months and note how things change. Last year we were bathed in sunshine whilst the Canadian GP start was delayed for several hours due to torrential rain. Jensen Button had problems in the pits but came through from last to overtake a spinning Seb Vettel on the final lap and take the chequered flag.

And this year? Europe is experiencing deluges of biblical proportions, the men’s final in Paris having to be finished off today, whilst several other sporting events have been delayed, postponed, or abandoned.

But in Canada it was beautiful. Jensen Button also suffered a reverse in his fortunes, not exactly starting from pole but finishing way down near the back of the grid. What a shame he seems to be so unflappable, a prize opportunity for a major strop having passed him by….

Last year Lewis Hamilton was showing how a strop should be done, seeking out Christian Horner to see if there was any chance of a seat in this year’s car. He was politely turned down and I should think he’s quite glad now, Red Bull are no longer the dominant force they were last year and Lewis claimed his first victory of the season, emerging from his second stop almost 10 seconds behind the one stopping leaders, but sailing majestically past them as their tyres began to fade.

Felipe Massa started well but then slipped down the field and Schumi recorded yet another DNF, despite his mechanics using the highly technical measure of bashing his rear wing with their fists in an effort to free his jammed DRS. I used to work for a chap whose favoured course of action when faced with anything mechanical was to hit it with a hammer. If he wasn’t dead I’d be thinking he’d got a new job working for Mercedes.

Grosjean hauled his Lotus into second place and I can’t see it being long before one or other of their drivers takes the chequered flag, and Sergio Perez had another excellent drive to take third, both of these drivers passing Vettel and Alonso in the closing laps.

All in all a good race with plenty of action, which is more than can be said for Monaco where the most exciting thing to happen was Martin Brundle being bundled into the swimming pool of the Red Bull yacht by Christian Horner as he interviewed race winner Mark Webber…

The Hand Of God?

Pastor Maldonado came of age on Sunday, emerging from his chrysalis of being a backmarker who seems to get in the way a lot, to being a front runner, topping the timesheets in all qualifying sessions and driving a measured race to take his first win. Not bad for a man of god…. oh hang on, that’s his name not a title, sorry.

Fernando Alonso once again demonstarted what an excellent driver he is, when not suffering the sulks and huffs that entertained us so much a couple of seasons ago.

Kimi Raikonnen continues to show Michael Schumacher just what a successful comeback is actually like, once again on the podium and surely not long till he’s on the top step.

Schumi on the other hand continued to demonstrate that he is probably past it, not even the tactic of not completeing a lap in final qualifying in order to save tyres giving him any advantage in the race as he hung around the middle of the field until giving us a classic Schumacher moment when faced with a car he was struggling to pass, “misjudging” his speed, the distance to Bruno Senna’s Williams and its speed and therefore ending up in the Wiliams’s rear end and whilst giving the following Seb Vettel a visor full of carbon fibre.

Hamilton drove a stormin’ race, gambling on only two tyre stops to try and get some points after being demoted from pole to the very back of the grid. Last year he asked, facetiously, “Is it cos I is black?” a la Ali G, well they do seem to be a bit heavy handed with the punishments you have to admit.

All very exciting again, but it isn’t half buggering up my afternooon naps, I used to rely on F1 to have my eyes closing within half an hour.

And Monaco next, where Felippe Massa has it all to prove, otherwise he’ll be joining the dole queue. Can’t wait!

The Flying Deutsch – Finn

Well, what a race we had in Shanghai. No rain, not many spins, no crashes, just Schumi as a DNF, coasting to a halt with an unfastened rear wheel twelve laps into the race after his first pit stop.

But having said that it was probably the closest race in a long time. with the pack following the leader being up each other’s exhaust pipes for much of the race.

Rosberg having claimed pole got away superbly and aside from pit stops was always in the lead.

Button worked his way up to second but had a disastrous final stop and had to do the whole thing again, passing Senna, Grosjean, Webber, Vettel and the, up to that point storming, Kimi Raikonnen.

Raikonnen had run well in the Lotus but his tyres were shot with the last few laps to go and he rapidly tumbled down the field from second to an ultimate fourteenth.

Felipe Massa seemed to have got a bit of a grip, missing out on the final qualifying session but starting only two places behind team-mate Alonso. He briefly led the race during the initial pit stops, but then fell back down the field, his Ferrari becoming a mobile chicane as he held up the faster cars behind him.
Having elected to stop only twice he was once again on the receiving end of a message from his engineer telling him to let Alonso through, and having to settle for thirteenth at the chequered flag.

Lewis Hamilton drove well to finish third, keeping out of trouble and not managing to knock Massa off. There was a good wheeel to wheel battle down the pit lane with Raikonnen, which the Finn conceded. However he did go on to have wheeel to wheel battles with most of the field, being reluctant to let his place go too easily.

Seb Vettel also missed the final qualifying but hung in there to run as high as third in the closing stages. However his tyre strategy meant, like Raikonnen he didn’t have the grip over the last few laps and finished in fifth.

But it was Rosberg’s day. His father Keke, was known as The Flying Finn.
Rosberg takes his German nationality from his Mother, but he is really half German, half Finnish. And Fast.

The Flying Deutsch Finn perhaps.

Sergio Who?

An interesting week in F1, Ferrari, generally regarded as lagging behind over the winter, managed to scoop the full 25 points, Jenson Button appeared to have caught whatever ailed Lewis hamilton last season, almost running into the back of his teammate before colliding with an HRT.
Michael Schumacher outqualified his younger compatriot, plonking his Mercedes on the second row of the grid, whilst both Lotuses, Loti? were in the top ten. Webber and Vettel were languishing, well for them, in fourth and seventh and it was all jolly topsy turvy.

Felipe Massa came to Malaysia under his own personal raincloud, an abysmal showing in Australia had brought the rumour mongers out in force, with stories about his impending replacement in the team, with various deadlines and various drivers having been approached to step into his cockpit.

Having qualified way down the field, he had several excursions off the track slipping further and further back from his charging teammate.

Michael Schumacher, once known as the rainmeister, once again showed that he probably is past it, as his and Grosjean’s Lotus spun and collided, pushing Schumi way down the field from where he was unable to make any impression whatsoever, but at least he was still running, unlike Grosjean who once again had qualified brilliantly only to fail to complete the first lap.

Hamilton managed to convert his pole to a lead, but alas the heaven’s opened, first the safety car came out and then the red flags.

Fifty one minutes later the race was restarted, but as everyone dived into the pits at the end of the first and second laps Hamilton emerged third behind Alonso and one Sergio Perez in the Sauber.

And then, the unthinkable. Button had his coming together with Karthikainen, Hamilton just couldn’t find the pace, Webber was holding his own but Vettel suffered a puncture and this chap Perez starts hauling in Alonso’s Ferrari, taking huge chunks out of his lead and consistently setting fastest laps.

The Sauber boys couldn’t believe their eyes. This is a team that is usually happy to sneak into the points and here was their driver battling for the lead.

Maybe nerves got the better of him, for with five laps to go and being right up Alonso’s exhaust, he slipped wide and lost 5 seconds and the race was Ferrari’s.

Interesting to note though that Sauber are powered by Ferrari, Sergio Perez is part of the Ferrari young drivers program and is also the hot tip to replace a certain Mr. Massa, perhaps as early as Monaco.

And after that performance who could say he doesn’t deserve it?

Come Back Murray Wanker – You Are Forgiven

F1 returned to our screens this weekend, not only with new rules and regulations, cars, drivers and teams but also a new broadcaster as Sky Sports have the rights to every race this season.

And what a show they have for us.

There’s an anchor, a couple of pundits, one of each sex no less, who have a large video screen that they operate by touching “buttons” on, whooo, they’ve got Martin Brundle, but alas no young Jake Humphries, but they have got probably one of the sexiest men to ever sit in a racing car who seems to have spent his time since he retired getting even sexier, none other than our very own Damon Hill, sitting there looking sexy and offering his well considered opinion on events both on and off the track.

Qualifying threw up the, so far in recent years, unique event of a Lotus making it past the first eliminator.
But things got better than that as Roman Grosjean managed to plonk this previously slothful car onto the second row of the grid, behind the two McLarens. Wow! Quite a morale booster for the young driver who managed about a half dozen races last year and this year is partnered by returning former world champ Kimi Raikonnen, who didn’t manage to get past the first qualifying session and started in 17th place.

The race got under way eventually, the red lights taking an absolute age to come on, then go off again.

Button snatched the lead from pole sitter Hamilton and behind them there was some argy bargy resulting in Bruno Senna, nephew to the late, great Ayrton, ending up pointing the wrong way in the middle of the first corner.

Nothing serious however and the opening laps were quite frantic all through the field, as places were lost and gained.

Michael Schumacher was running well, having made it up to third, but then ran wide under pressure from Vettel, or maybe not, then called it a day. Grosjean slipped down the order before slipping off into the gravel.
Raikonnen had a ding dong battle with Kobyashi, but there again everyone has a ding dong battler with Kobyashi at some point, he just won’t take no for an answer.

Vettel battled up to third, Alonso battled up to fifth, Massa had a coming together with Senna and it all looked hunky dory for a McLaren one – two, until Petrov parked his car on the pit straight.
The McLarens had just made their pit stops, the safety car came out, allowing Vettel to pit and rejoin in second, with Hamilton initially giving chase but then having to concentrate on staying ahead of Webber.

Pastor Maldonado in the Williams was chasing Alonso hard but lost it on the last lap, Nico Rosberg coasted over the line, out of fuel, allowing Raikonnen to claim seventh, not a bad start for someone who’s a bit rusty.

A jolly good race all told, well at least I didn’t start falling asleep which hopefully bodes well for the rest of the season.

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I Told You So
Young Jake Goes For Bernie’s Jugular
Overgrown, Overpaid …

I Told You So

Silverstone hosted the British F1 GP this weekend and just as I predicted way back in March, things are really hotting up.

Lewis Hamilton is well pissed off with the McLaren team and has been for talks with rival Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. This time round he was battling for a podium finish until the team had to tell him to ease off as he was running out of fuel, allowing Vettel and Webber to pass and having to fight right to the last corner to hold of Felipe massa’s Ferrari to salvage fourth place.

Jenson Button could soon be sharing his team-mates frustration, pitting on lap 39 from a potential top three finishing position, the mechanics fluffed the pit stop and sent him on his way minus a wheel nut.

Mark Webber scented his chance to hunt down his all conquering team leader, ignoring calls from his team until the big white chief got hold of the radio and sternly told him to maintain position.
Should imagine there’ll be some fireworks between Webber and Vettel in the next few races.

Fernando Alonso, finally got the break he’s been desrving when Red Bull had a problem with Vettel’s pit stop, taking the lead and never looking back.

But best of all, on Friday Red Bull’s blown diffuser exhaust system was banned, on Saturday it was unbanned and on Sunday it seemed that people who hadn’t got it could have it, whilst those that had, couldn’t.

The best thing about F!, the clarity and consistencey of the rules.

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Come Back Murray Wanker

Young Jake Goes For Bernie’s Jugular

Off to Velencia for the European Grands Prix.

Well not really cos I’m grounded at the moment and to be quite honest it would have been a total waste of time and money.

The circuit has been on the calendar for about five years or so and we have yet to see an exciting race there.

Vettel qualified on pole, yawn, with Webber, Hamilton and Alonso making up the first two rows of the grid.

In the race he held onto the lead, yawn, yawn, and although those chasing him swapped places a few times, the overtaking was mostly down to the pitstops, yawnety yawn.

So Vettel took the chequered flag, Alonso drove well to take second, Webber finished third and Hamilton managed to avoid running into or over anything to take fourth.

Schumacher lost his front wing early on, and a couple of the backmarkers ran wide here and there and that was about it.

But hang on, there was some excitement.

Martin Brundle appears to be being given a rest from the pitstraight walkabout he has made his own over the years. Perhaps he’s finding it a bit of a push to get back to the commentary box in time for the parade lap, who knows?

Anyways, young Jake Humphries and former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan have done the honours for the last two races.

And very interesting it is too. Whereas Martin would talk to the camera on espying a driver, team owner or F1 Ringmaster and just sort of sidle up to them, including the viewer in his approach, the diminutive Eddie Jordan stalks right up to his quarry and grabs them by the arm, dragging them back, in some cases kicking and screaming, to talk to himself, Young Jake and us.

And so he lighte upon Mr. Ecclestone himself, and hounded him down the pitlane, until Bernie was holed up against a cordoned off area that not even his mega pass could get through.

Eddie ushered Bernie back to the waiting Young Jake and the cameraman and proceeded to ask about the future of this Grands Prix.
Bernie confirmed that talks were being held and then mentioned that Barcelona had held the Spanish GP for quite a long time now.

Eddie was going to move on to something else, but Young Jake, perhaps fancying himself in the role of namesake of John, arch Today interviewer and political assassin extraordinaire, and stepped right in.

Did Bernie mean that Barcelona could be off the calendar to make way for Valencia?

A good try Young Jake, but better men than you have failed to elicit a straight response from the pint sized impressario.

Bernie evaded the question with a neat sidestep, made his excuses and hared away into the distance, leaving Jake and Eddie alone on the tarmac.

If the boss of BBC Sport is reading this, don’t be surprised if you wake in the middle of the night with something, warm, heavy and wet lying on your feet.

We can tell you now it will be the head of your favourite F1 anchorman….

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