Monday, 28 November 2016

Abu Dhabi - "We did it"

It was all looking positive from the very good plane smoke display put on by the race host.  There was nothing big at the start, which I didn't mind for once.  At least we didn't know the outcome of the race/championship by Lap 2.

Mercedes were playing it very cautious, giving the audience some worries during their very long first pit stops.  I say very long, 3.6 seconds for Hamilton on Lap 7 and 4.8 seconds for Rosberg on Lap 9.  Also - first pit stops on Lap 7!

Button showed the world why he's quitting F1 with his steering failure on Lap 12.  He sounded relieved.  And drunk during his post-race interview.

There was a lot of (unnecessary) tyre chat during the race.  When did Karun Chandok become an expert?  I'm not sure I believe anything he says.

On Lap 17, Kvyat showed us where his career is going when he got on his bike to go back to the pits.

It started to get a bit racy by Lap 20, everything was crossed that Verstappen wouldn't do anything silly when Rosberg went for the overtake.  Anytime Verstappen got in the mix, you were put on the edge.

I then have no notes until Lap 44, when Vettel became an "imminent threat".  The stewards finally got involved in the race on the next lap with Palmer.

We saw inside the Mercedes ICT support room a couple of time during the race.  I'm not sure what this added to our viewing pleasure.  The atmosphere was as electric as a Tuesday afternoon at the Hymans Robertson office.

As ever, there was a little something thrown in for the conspiracy theorists.  Was "41.5" a code for Hamilton?

It was a great end to a race and a season.  When Vettel overtook Verstappen on Lap 51 there were some tense laps.  Put out to Pastor commented on that the "reign of terror is over".  The Channel 4 coverage was so different from the BBC, there was no fawning and it did seem to reveal that perhaps Rosberg is the drivers' choice of driver.  Then there were lots of doughnuts.

This led to lots of lovely moments.  The coverage of the mums was nice.  How normal is Mama Hamilton (where was Dad?)?  I can't imagine her sitting down to a roast with Sh*tsinger.  Rosberg did get his anthem on the podium, thanks to the skewed nationality rules.  Rob Smedley had brought his family to the race, very cute.

Then Hamilton trotted out his spiel about how good the crowd is at this track.

Coulthard promised us "faster, wider, louder cars" next year.  I think I have finally cracked this Fantasy F1 lark, after decades of trying.  Crack open the rose water.

Abu Dhabi GP & Championship Results

1 (at last). The Pitstop Princess - 1,246
2. Weak End of Bernie - 1,211
3. Merc-redible Hulk - 1,098
4.Halo, it's me - 1,085
5. Hippy F1 - 1,062
6. Claire has to type out this sentence each time as my team name - 1,022
7. Three teams, one dream - 1,007
8. BogOffBernie - 996
9. Beauty & the F1 Geek - 911
10. The Hopefuls - 900
11. No Vices Now - 795
12. The Maranello Marvels - 760
13. Marian's Marvels - 695
14. Indiana Walker and the Tyres of Doom - 639
15. British Racing Green - 622
16. Put out to Pastor - 402

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Brazil GP - "Terrific drive, Lewis, brilliant"

Sky's coverage got off to a jaunty start with a really good interview with Nico Rosberg.  This is unusual because it wasn't a feature about Lewis Hamilton.

Then it rained.  If anyone was wondering why this is late published, it took us two sittings to get through the entire race.

Grosjean crashed out just getting his car to the grid.  Button must be pleased as this bests his top failure of crashing on the parade lap when he drove for Williams.  Put out to Pastor's team are basically an indicator of who would do badly this race/season.

The rain delay meant that there was lots of shots of rain falling into puddles (if this is popular, I say again, Knockhill GP) and sponsor logo close-ups.  Wet races used to be the exciting ones.

Then Hamilton got water in his eyes.  Angus also does not like getting water in his eyes.  I wonder how the person who washes Lewis's hair tricks him?

On Lap 7, Verstappen performed his first overtake, showing no fear.

Lap 11 saw Vettel aquaplane and then have problems with his wheel gun.  Where was all this bad luck a couple of years ago?  The next big aquaplane was Ericson on lap 14 and Verstappen had to avoid, a hairy moment as he was now on inters.  By lap 20, I couldn't take any more as Raikkonen spun on the pit straight.  Clearly getting old and becoming a mother has affected me more than I'd care to admit.  This brought the red flags out and Massa got a snack bar.  Hamilton gave his jacket to a shivering flag girl.

Everyone went racing again.  Kvyat and Palmer had a near miss which led to the Russian swearing and shouting: "that's a big one", whilst the Brit kept his stiff upper lip and reported some damage.

There was a red flag on lap 28 but I don't know why.  The fans didn't either and they booed and pointed their thumbs downwards.  I started another bout of fast forwarding.  Boulier cryptically told us: "Don't trust the messages on the radio."

Eventually the racing got back underway with a few mishaps here and there before Massa spun on lap 48.  This guaranteed him his moment in the sun (rain).  He was crying (and posing for photos).  Croft commented that: "This is not how Felipe Massa would have wanted to end".  As a Williams supporter, me neither but when has he really brought us any points?  The teams came out to in to the pit lane to give him a cheer.  Do the successful drivers ever get this response?

FoM is clearly trying to appear to a younger market, broadcasting images of Gutierrez having a row with his boss and stomping off.

In the end though, Verstappen brought the show to Brazil.  How much longer until we hate Verstappen the way we hated Vettel and Schumacher?

Brazil GP - Results

1. The Pitstop Princess - 1,189*
2. Weak End of Bernie - 1,156*
3. Merc-redible Hulk - 1,047*
4. Halo, it's me - 1,042*
5. Hippy F1 - 1,010*
6. Claire has to type out this sentence each time as my team name - 977*
7. The Hopefuls - 850*
8. Marian's Marvels - 677*
9. Indiana Walker and the Tyres of Doom - 599*
10. British Racing Green - 588*
11. No Vices Now - 775*
12. The Maranello Marvels - 725*
13. Put out to Pastor - 372*

*All teams have now played their home track.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Mexico GP - "Really solid weekend"

Vettel dominated the weekend one way or another.  Starting with "Am I safe?  I need to pee." during qualifying.  Then a puncture in Lap 1.  It was quite an interesting first lap - I've written "boom boom boom" about the Virtual Safety Car period.  I can't remember why.
During the race we heard a lot from Vettel and Alonso over the radio, mainly whinging.  Until Vettel's now infamous sweary rant.  He wasn't punished for this, having apologised but I remember watching the sport from a very young age and I want Angus to be able to watch it without the bleeping.  Off with his head!
There were a couple of flashbacks to past seasons.  We saw an awful lot of Fisichella.  Some very synchronised team order passes from Red Bull and Williams too.
The TV viewing in Mexico must shoot up for this race.  The camera barely seemed to leave Perez (other than to show us Fisichella).
Coulthard decribed the race as "slow burn". Admittedly I don't have many notes [there was a 20% off on ASOS yesterday.  Ed.]  I enjoyed Hulkenberg giving Williams a spin to help them out in Lap 68.  Then there was all the Vettel/Verstappen carry on.  Vettel was raised and subsequently lowered in the results table.  His wagging finger ultimately not helping him.  Verstappen had to leave the podium room but it was still not the most awkward atmosphere of the season.
Finally, Vettel was crowned Driver of the Day.  Which rules out all thoughts I had to including that in a new scoring system for next season.

Mexico GP - Results

1. The Pitstop Princess - 1,108*
2. Weak end of Bernie - 1.075*
3. Merc-redible Hulk - 990*
4. Halo, it's me - 974*
5. Hippy F1 - 932*
6. Claire has to type this sentence each time as my team name - 926*
7. The Hopefuls - 792*
8. No Vices Now - 757*
9. The Maranello Marvels - 701*
10. Marian's Marvels - 659*
11. British Racing Green - 570*
12. Indiana Walker and the Tyres of Doom - 493
13. Put out to Pastor - 362*

* Home track played.  Keep biting your nails, Indiana Walker and the Tyres of Doom is still to play their home track in Brazil...this could be a game-changer!