MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF MALAYSIA (28.3.2014-30.3.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS ON DELAY? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Good morning.
  • Or, whatever.
  • I am watching a replay of the Qualifying broadcast.
  • …As the live broadcast started as I was getting up for work.
  • …I know, I should have called-in.
  • …My priorities are all wrong.
  • …I’m bad at my non-paying sports writing/commentating job.
  • …That I love.
  • Anyhoo…
  • Malaysia Grand Prix.
  • …Sepang International Circuit.
  • …Kuala Lumpur.
  • Which follows the…very interesting…Australian Grand Prix.
  • …An amazing race.
  • …With amazing results.
  • …And a bit of a sad end.
  • …Hold on…
  • Kvyat does a dance with Alonso.
  • …Wild horses for cars, soaking wet track, and a 19-year-old rookie behind the wheel.
  • …Thus far, the rookies have been so impressive.
  • …Including Ericsson, who has shown a lot of balls, despite the Caterhams having some issues popping up at bad times.
  • Okay, onboard with Mr Incredible is telling me that the rain has returned.
  • …Onboard with Magnussen is showing the same.
  • …As is a Lotus transmission to Grosjean.
  • Vettel has pulled back into the Red Bull garage for a checkup.
  • I’ll be honest, I looked up, saw some rain lights, and thought a car had burst into flame.
  • …I’ll continue that honesty by saying that those cars are (still) in the “scary” stage.
  • …Every one of them has so many bugs, with so much potential for sudden and catastrophic disaster.
  • …I don’t want that to come off as doom and gloom.
  • …It’s just that they haven’t had time to figure these new systems out and perfect them.
  • …I would say it will take (at least) half the season until we start seeing things come together and the drivers start to (really) understand their cars.
  • Oh, if you’re new to my babbling, “Mr Incredible” is Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg.
  • …No explanation needed.
  • …Plus, I love the guy, so the nickname works very well.
  • Bianchi’s Marussia is looking curious.
  • These cars are just very wild and untamed.
  • …Very twitchy.
  • …Fighty handling.
  • …The new regulations gave the (now turbo-charged) cars more torque.
  • …So, here, have some oversteer, understeer, or no steering at all.
  • …The area around every corner of Albert Park and Sepang International are very…well-explored.
  • …Once those cars lose it, they’re gone.
  • …And, it’s pretty dramatic.
  • Ericsson totally loses it as Q1 ends.
  • …Fight with the steering, hydroplane, off, into the wall, bounces back onto the track, just misses Gutierrez’s Sauber, sparks the whole way, wheels dragging and dangling.
  • …As I was saying, the offs are pretty dramatic.
  • Ooo-Vettel has a little slip, too.
  • …But, managed to hold it and get back home.
  • …See?  Everyone is having issues with these beasts.
  • So, Q1…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Svettel, and Mr Incredible.
  • …”Svettel” would be Sebastian Vettel.
  • …Why?
  • …Because, when I post updates, I use first initial and last name.
  • …”S VETTEL”.
  • …Svettel.
  • …It stuck.
  • Okay, where was I with Australia?
  • …Oh, the sad side.
  • …So, after an amazing drive to second (at his home race), scrutineering found that Red Bull has been using a questionable fuel sensor, so Ricciardo was disqualified.
  • …Then, it was a trickle-down effect.
  • …Magnussen, in his F1 debut, was bumped up to second.
  • …Button was bumped up to third, which happened to be his 50th.
  • …The whole situation was just a bit sad.
  • …And, I’m (still) a little confused as to why, with so many uncertainties, so many variables they were letting slide, they opted to pick on this one and create this situation.
  • …You can say ‘rules are rules’ all you want, but, come on, how many rules did they bend for that race?
  • …And, Red Bull are absolutely convinced that they did nothing wrong.
  • …The appeal hearing is April 14th.
  • …And, should Red Bull win it, everyone loses their promotions.
  • …And, I’m assuming, all the points they gained from that disqualification.
  • …Unless something points-related is decided.
  • …I don’t know.
  • …See how ridiculous this is?
  • Oh, jeez.  Was that Alonso and Kvyat (again)?
  • …Yes.
  • …It looks like the Ferrari hit the Toro Rosso.
  • …Kvyat went around Alonso, took the inside, there appeared to be a lot of room, then…
  • …There wasn’t.
  • …Both cars head to their garages.
  • Ooo-Bottas is sliding around in quite nasty conditions.
  • …The kid does love the rain, though.
  • …Remember when he qualified third at Canada (last year)?
  • …In the rain.
  • …In his rookie year.
  • …In the troubled Williams.
  • You can’t even see what’s going on out there (at the moment).
  • …The onboards are just blurs.
  • …The cars have turned into fan boats.
  • Onboard with Grosjean.
  • …Yes, Grosjean.
  • …In the very problematic Lotus.
  • …Recall that they were unable to develop and test the car on the same timeline as the other teams, courtesy of financial difficulties.
  • …I think (both) Grosjean and Maldonado deserve great seasons.
  • …They’re talented, they’re experienced, and they’ve worked really hard to get past weird periods of crashing into everyone.
  • …I hope Lotus can get their car back into competitive form.
  • …(I think they can.)
  • Magnussen takes a little off-road excursion.
  • …Holds it, zips through the gravel trap, holds it, back on track.
  • …He did head back to the garage (after), though.
  • Perez fights his Force India around the turns.
  • …Oh, and on the straights.
  • …He holds on like a pro.
  • Onboard with Bottas.
  • …Who is on wets (now).
  • …Finally.
  • …Visibility seems to have improved.
  • Time’s up.
  • Neither Massa nor Bottas advance.
  • …A look of disappointment at Williams.
  • And, Grosjean wraps things up with a little spin.
  • …But, catches it and heads home.
  • Q2…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Ricciardo
  • …Mercedes and Red Bull.
  • …Hey, (maybe) the Red Bulls are starting to work.
  • …Newey may not have to be committed quite yet.
  • …Kvyat was about to advance, but his teammate (Vergne) said, “no”, pushed him out, and may have stolen his milk money.
  • …I’m not sure it came to atomic wedgies, though.
  • As Q3 gets underway, Magnussen is reporting that it’s (still) too wet for intermediate tires.
  • …Oddly enough, McLaren teammate Button has just switched to intermediates.
  • …If there’s any question, it’s not uncommon for teams to try different things with their drivers.
  • …Button has more experience, so he would be the natural choice if that’s the situation.
  • …I would think.
  • …Just a thought, though.
  • Rosberg takes a little detour.
  • …Enjoying the scenic route to Malaysia, after his Australian win.
  • Mr Of Espoo (Kimi Räikkönen, for newbies) is demanding new tires.
  • They were discussing the dynamic at Ferrari, with Kimi and Alonso.
  • …Two leaders.
  • …Two very competitive leaders.
  • …One, a passionate Spaniard.
  • …The other, a Nordic with the Ricky Bobby-esque thinking that “if you’re not first, you’re last”.
  • …It’s an interesting pairing.
  • …A highlight of P1 was Alonso, getting an update on where Kimi was (in the standings) and, promptly, spinning off.
  • …Great summary of Team Ferrari 2014.
  • Time’s up.
  • Hamilton takes pole.
  • …Two for two (this season).
  • …(Hopefully) this round will fare better for him.
  • …No retirements, please.
  • Following Hamilton are Vettel, Rosberg, and Alonso.
  • Vettel and Hamilton go to weigh-in (together).
  • …A love tap from Vettel causes Hamilton to fall off the scale.
  • …All F1 races are physically demanding, but Malaysia is so hot and humid that drivers (actually) lose weight during the race.
  • …Factor in fighting with the wild beast cars and trying to maintain control in the rain, and I would think these guys were just ready to take a nap on the ground after this.
  • Okay, so, that was Qualifying.
  • I will be back in a bit for the race.
  • Current conditions (at Sepang) are 92 degrees (Fahrenheit) and sunny.
  • …However, more storms are forecasted.
  • …So, stay tuned.
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