MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF BAHRAIN (4.4.2014 – 6.4.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS ON DELAY? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Bahrain Grand Prix.
  • Qualifying.
  • Let’s do this.
  • Bahrain International Circuit…
  • …5.4-ish km/3.4-ish mi long.
  • …Looks like someone flexing.
  • …It’s here to pump…*clap*…you up.
  • …To celebrate its 10th Grand Prix anniversary, this year’s round will be held at sunset.
  • …Think Abu Dhabi.
  • …Thus far, it’s been beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
  • …Desert sunsets are pretty hard to beat, so it should be a no-brainer.
  • …But, this will be the first time they’ve tried it.
  • …I would assume the logistics of night races are (initially) crazy.
  • …They can’t just have ordinary street lights.
  • …It’s all about stadium floodlights.
  • …Which makes the tracks look like long exposure shots of streets.
  • …Very cool
  • Okay, three rounds of knock-out Qualifying.
  • …You know the drill.
  • …Unless you don’t.
  • …Then…just pretend you do.
  • …I’ll never know.
  • Last year, it was Vettel, Räikkönen, and Grosjean on the podium.
  • This year, it’s a new game.
  • …New rules, new cars, new team lineups.
  • …Except for Mercedes (Hamilton and Rosberg) and Marussia (Bianchi and Chilton).
  • …So, while it may be the same F1 action with many of the same faces, it’s uncharted territory.
  • Thus far, Bahrain has been all about Mercedes.
  • …Hamilton has taken first and Rosberg has taken second in all three practice sessions.
  • …Which is (almost) laughable, as the the season has been all Mercedes.
  • …They topped preseason testing, dominated qualifying rounds, and won (both) races.
  • …Rosberg took Australia, Hamilton took Malaysia.
  • …With Rosberg in second.
  • …It’s too early to declare them unbeatable.
  • …But, they’re worth watching.
  • …They’ve (definitely) raised the bar pretty high.
  • Q1 comes to an end…
  • …Hülkenberg, Bottas, Perez, and Massa come out on top.
  • …Yep, Mr Incredible in the lead.
  • …Two Williams, two Force Indias.
  • …Anyone have any issues with this?
  • …No?
  • …Good.
  • …They were followed by (both) Ferraris.
  • …Because, we’re doing this in teams (today).
  • …Or, whatever.
  • …Okay, everybody, take each other’s hands; stay together.
  • …Would anyone not want to see that?
  • …Ferrari and Williams.
  • …With their rivalries.
  • …And Finns.
  • …I bet the Force India boys would hold hands.
  • …They’d be cool with it.
  • …Anyway, yes, it was Kimi ahead of Alonso.
  • …Will this be the race that Ferrari figures stuff out?
  • …Maybe.
  • …Who knows?
  • Right, onto Q2.
  • Onboard with Mr Incredible.
  • …Which reminds me…
  • …This track is run clockwise.
  • …Not important, but a point of interest.
  • Aaaahhh, yes…
  • …The Vettel issue.
  • …FIA overlord Jean Todt was less than impressed with some comments Svettel has made on the sounds and such of the new F1.
  • …They’re going to have a little chat.
  • …On that note…
  • …I would like to apologize for my lack of “Hot Todt-ie” comments over the years.
  • …But, back to the Hans Strudel issue…
  • …Who cares?
  • …Sports are so censored, so controlled in every way these days.
  • …It’s all about keeping everyone happy…
  • …Leagues, sponsors, anyone with a call and/or a checkbook.
  • …We could use more badassery.
  • …Svettel was honest.
  • …Good.
  • …I don’t want to sound like I’m ripping on Hot Todt-ie.
  • …He’s under just as much pressure to keep everyone happy.
  • …If not more.
  • …But, these things are just so silly.
  • …Can we just go back to humans and sports?
  • …A friend of mine, a well-known, well-respected outside gear reviewer, recently passed along some requests she’s received.
  • …Specific lines companies want her to include and so on.
  • …It’s crazy stuff.
  • …And, these are the sorts of things these athletes deal with all the time, but with more riding on it (my friend is an independent, non-profit – other than the gear, no make/break multi-million dollar deals that support her and/or her business).
  • …It all seems so glamourous.  Until you look closer.
  • …It’s like a Monet.
  • Q2 is a wrap.
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Button on top.
  • …Svettel and Mr Incredible are among those knocked out.
  • …HÜLKENBERG NO LIKE OUT.
  • Q3 kicks off, with Bottas the early bird.
  • …Birds are major figures in Nordic culture.
  • …They’re a link between gods and mortals.
  • Important update:
  • …I like Claire Williams’ shoes.
  • …They were cute two-tone (white and navy) ballet flats.
  • …I’m a ballet flats girl.
  • …Claire Williams is (always) one to watch for that stuff.
  • …Never over the top, but (always) put together and nice.
  • …It’s clear the Deputy Team Principal is a girl.
  • …Which, I can never stress enough, is so important.
  • …You don’t have to be a boy and you don’t have to be a toy, just because you’re in the guy’s clubhouse.
  • …You just have to be yourself.
  • Kimi, fighting with his Ferrari around the turns.
  • …With all the micro technology out there, can’t we have a camera on his face, like, all the time?
  • …I’d watch that.
  • Q3 wraps.
  • …Rosberg grabs pole.
  • …Hamilton spins and lands in second.
  • …Ricciardo and Bottas follow.
  • …Now, remember, Ricciardo will have that 10-spot grid penalty.
  • …For the unsafe early pit release at Malaysia (last week).
  • …So, that bumps half the drivers up a spot.
  • …But, Ricciardo will (still) get to do the press conference and all that good stuff.
  • …I really do hope that he knows that he’s doing fantastically well.
  • …That none of these hiccups have had anything to do with his driving.
  • …It seems like he does.
  • …But, let’s keep it that way.
  • …Perez FINALLY sees a good result.
  • …He will start in fourth.
  • …Behind Bottas and Perez, the kids, are the two oldest drivers…
  • …Mr Of Espoo and Mr Jenson Button.
  • …(Both) are 34.
  • …I know, I know.
  • …Decrepit.
  • Watching the press conference clip…
  • …Hamilton and Ricciardo have got to prefer the dry heat.
  • …I’m not sure humidity is their friend.
  • …I bet Ricciardo could pack an amazing fro.
  • I assume Ricciardo has to work to not smile.
  • …The dude is just perpetually stoked.
  • …That’s just his default state of being.
  • …Stoked.
  • …The world!  It’s just so awesome!
  • …Stuff!  Yeah!
  • …It’s fantastic.
  • …He should (always) be flanked by Kimi and Bottas, though.
  • …How entertaining would that be?
  • …It would be a treat for the eyes AND ears.
  • Want a good drinking game?
  • …Any time you hear “Ricciardo” in a Spanish/Italian accent from Ferrari, drink.
  • …I’m 900% sure they’re not only adding letters, but inventing new ones.
  • Okay, tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix…
  • …In the US, it will be aired on NBC Sports Network at 10:30am ET.
  • …As usual, a half-hour pre-show will air.
  • …57 laps.
  • …The forecast is consistent with the conditions we’ve seen thus far.
  • …Upper 60s to upper 70s (Fahrenheit).
  • …With some wind.
  • …There’s (always) the chance of some pretty noteworthy wind at Bahrain.
  • …Just another new territory for these cars to explore.
  • In case any World Rally Championship folks are reading this, wondering why I haven’t done any live/delayed commentary on Rally de Portugal, thinking I’m a total F1 douche…
  • …There haven’t been any stages broadcasted.
  • …Two will air tomorrow morning.
  • …6am and 9am ET.
  • …MAVTV.
  • …The plan is to roll commentary as usual.
  • …The WRC and F1 schedules work out pretty perfectly (tomorrow).
  • …So, watch this space for an explosion of several thousand words-worth of on-the-spot motorsport commentary.
  • Right.
  • So, that is that for Qualifying.
  • Rally America coverage debuts on NBCS right now (with Sno*Drift.)
  • …Very exciting!
  • …I highly recommend checking it out.
  • …But, I may be just a tad biased.
  • Until tomorrow…
  • …Toodles.
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