MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF GREAT BRITAIN (4.7.2014 – 6.7.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// P2…

  • Well…
  • Good morning.
  • And a very happy 4th of July, ‘Murka.
  • Who needs a Pop Tart?
  • …Or, a few?
  • Okay, onto another red, white, and blue.
  • …The motherland.
  • …No, not France.
  • …Or, the Netherlands.
  • …Britain.
  • Before I start, one fun Friday fact…
  • …My internet connection has been crapping out every few minutes.
  • …So, cross-referencing facts, figures, and details?
  • …Not so much on this lovely morning.
  • However, I do have some track information.
  • …So, shall we?
  • Silverstone Circuit.
  • …Iconic beyond iconic.
  • …Silverstone hosted its first F1 race in 1950.
  • …Which wasn’t just an early marker in the beginning of F1.
  • …That race was the beginning or F1.
  • …Prior to that, like many British circuits, it was an airfield.
  • …Take that, ecomentalists.
  • …The track is 5.891km (3.660mi) long.
  • …On raceday, there will be 52 laps.
  • …Which puts the total distance at 306.332km (190.346mi).
  • …The shape is a little like a caricature of Bob Hope’s face.
  • The 2013 British Grand Prix…
  • …Was won by Mercedes’ Rosberg.
  • …Red Bull’s Webber took second and Ferrari’s Alonso took third.
  • …But, really, anyone who finished was a winner.
  • …That was the race in which all the tires exploded.
  • …Violently.
  • …Several safety cars went out as frantic calls went over the radio, to and from every driver.
  • …Why they didn’t stop that race is beyond everyone.
  • …It was slow-going, no one could go near the curbs, and the drivers were (genuinely) scared.
  • …If not angry.
  • …I remember Massa (then, with Ferrari), talking about how terrifying it was and being so angry with the disregard for safety.
  • …When Massa says something, it’s worth a listen.
  • …Especially, when other drivers are saying the same thing.
  • In 2014…
  • …The tires are fine.
  • …But, the reconfigured cars…
  • …(Still) struggling.
  • …After a tremendous outing at Austria, both Williams cars needed some rebuilding after Free Practice 1.
  • …Massa had a rather dramatic crash, damaging, well, the whole car.
  • …Then, a boy named Sue lasted (about) 20 minutes before the car’s engine crapped out.
  • …Susie Wolff, people; Susie Wolff!
  • …In the house and behind the wheel!
  • …And, she is all girl!
  • …Girly girl!
  • …’Tis why I give her so much coverage.
  • …I’m a girly girl, it’s my site, I’ll do what I want.
  • …Anyway, Wolff is first woman to hop into the cockpit for an F1 race in 22 years.
  • …Which is sad, yet so exciting.
  • …Also sad was that the car failed.
  • …Nothing to do with the driver.
  • …The engine has been swapped out for its primary caretaker, Valtteri Bottas.
  • …Who is coming off his first podium, third place, at Austria.
  • …And, whose girlfriend (the rad Olympic swimmer, Emilia Pikkarainen) recently shared an awesomely selectively positioned photo of his cat, Turbo (over Instagram, under her full name).
  • …The cat is huge.
  • …Like, the name is hilariously ironic.
  • …And, she was holding the cat to perfectly show off how massive – and chunky – it is.
  • …And, Turbo did not look happy.
  • …Which made it even funnier.
  • …Yes, Bottas has a cat, and it is huge.
  • The 2015 standing restarts are being discussed (on NBCSN).
  • …Um…
  • …I think it’ll be interesting and worth a shot.
  • …You know, just to see.
  • …But, my concern is with these cars being so sensitive.
  • …Starts are risky enough.
  • …On top of it throwing the tire temperature.
  • …The engines don’t like sitting there.
  • …But, my biggest issue is with…
  • …Traditionally, when and where are the biggest crashes?
  • …Turn 1.
  • …You hold your breath through Turn 1.
  • …Drivers are at their most aggressive and open to the most tunnel vision.
  • …It’s before they’ve settled into the flow.
  • …Basically, it’s a bit of chaos.
  • …So, what, we’re going to add that unnecessary risk?
  • …Is the plan to just restart, loop, crash, loop, restart, repeat?
  • …Worst case scenario, of course.
  • …But, we all know how realistic it is in F1.
  • …What kind of a race would that be?
  • …Not of the racing variety, that’s for sure.
  • …Anyway, I’m not going to go on and off over this matter.
  • …Not now.
  • …We have a practice session rolling!
  • Free Practice 1…
  • …Apart from the Williams oopsies.
  • …Who led?
  • …Well, prepare to be shocked.
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, and Ricciardo.
  • …Interestingly, Räikkönen came in fifth.
  • …Just one day after commenting that he will (probably) just retire after his Ferrari contract is up (after next season).
  • …He’s Nordic.
  • …They do that.
  • …Birthday boy Vettel was right behind his F1 BFF.
  • …He is all of 28.
  • …Yeah.
  • …Red Bull has had a rough season, with Vettel’s car having the worst of the problems.
  • …But, they’re (Red Bull and Vettel) optimistically realistic, looking for solutions, using every success and failure as lessons to learn from, and just going with the flow.
  • Speaking of…
  • …Hamilton has just stopped on track.
  • …As in, his Mercedes is at a dead stop right on the track.
  • …It died that quickly.
  • …No time to even park it on the grass.
  • …As spectacular as Mercedes’ season has been, even their cars have had hideous problems.
  • …So, again, let’s all just…
  • …As that WWII propaganda poster says…
  • …Keep calm and carry on.
  • …Everyone is in the same boat.
  • …It’s race-by-race with no guarantees for everyone and anyone.
  • As Hamilton came to a halt on track…
  • …Vettel sat in the Red Bull garage.
  • …The mechanics, trying to tape up some cracks in his Red Bull.
  • …As I was saying, everyone has problems, they’re happening whenever and wherever, and Vettel’s car is one of the extra-unlucky ones.
  • …In this first half of the season.
  • Hey, just remember…
  • …At least no tires are exploding in a violent manner.
  • …Recall that Pirelligate began in practice.
  • …Perez (then with McLaren) experienced two of those terrifying blowouts that weekend.
  • …I mean, engines dying and cars coming to a slow halt is slightly preferable to tires exploding at high speeds, showering the track and other cars with debris.
  • …Wasn’t it at that Silverstone race that Kimi that took some good rubber to the visor?
  • …Fortunately, everyone was fine.
  • …Very fortunately.
  • …The dangerous mechanical risk this season seems to be brake failure.
  • …Those things are extra sensitive and drivers have yet to get the hang of braking in these cars this season.
  • …There is a lot of misjudgment of wear and stops.
  • …It’s been a problem.
  • …And, a dangerous one at that.
  • …That grotesque last lap collision at Canada (between Massa and Perez) came down to brake loss and related management on the part of Force India.
  • …Hamilton has had major brake issues that have cost him race positions.
  • …No one is immune.
  • Toro Rosso’s Vergne has pulled off.
  • …As has his front-left wheel.
  • …The wheel started to separate, so the Frenchman stopped.
  • …More bad luck for the talented, likable Vergne.
  • Williams is pulling Bottas’ car into the garage.
  • …I have no idea what happened there.
  • …There’s a big hole in the upper left side of the car.
  • …On replay, Bottas radioed in (simply) that the engine cover is coming off.
  • Oh, interesting…
  • …Reports are that Ericsson’s Caterham is being pulled in with identical issues.
  • …Different teams, different cars, different engines, different budgets.
  • …Caterham uses a Renault, Williams uses Mercedes.
  • …Could this be the weird issue of this round?
  • …Or, is it just coincidence?
  • …Stay tuned.
  • Kimi is radioing with some serious balance issues.
  • …The bouncy onboard concurs.
  • …Ferrari needs to adjust their car for Kimi’s Finnish eyebrows.
  • …After a few seasons of Alonso and Massa, they’ve gotten used to the extra weight and power.
  • …I just figured out your problem, Ferrari.
  • …You’re welcome.
  • Replay of Bottas’ bodywork failure.
  • …From the left side.
  • …That shell just (totally) broke away.
  • …What appeared to be a hole was, in fact, the whole side, breaking away.
  • Okay, well, that is that for P2.
  • …The top of the board is a repeat cast of characters from P1.
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Ricciardo.
  • …Vettel moves up to fifth.
  • …Bottas, Button, Magnussen, Kimi, and Vergne round out the top 10.
  • …So, success and failure go hand-in-hand as the results are all over the place.
  • …Just another day in Formula 1.
  • Did I mention Button’s helmet?
  • …For his home race, Button is wearing a special, pink, helmet to commemorate his dad, who died (suddenly) earlier this year.
  • …Watch for pink, especially pink shirts this weekend.
  • …And, tags such as #PinkForPapa.
  • …And, a plush Papa Smuf that has been traveling with F1, supporting charities close to Papa Button’s heart.
  • …The simplest way to get more information is to check out Jenson’s Twitter account, @JensonButton.
  • …His fiance, Jessica Michibata, is very active in the cause, as well, and can be found under @JessyBondGirl.
  • …(She’s another one, like Emilia Pikkarainen, who’s just – independently – awesome.  Check out both of their Instagram accounts.)
  • What on earth has happened to Force India, though?
  • …Once again…
  • …As has been the case for two races (now)…
  • …They’ve disappeared into the bottom half.
  • …I mean, they’ll be fine.
  • …Perez and The Incredible Hülkenberg are tremendous talents and the car is a steady threat at the top.
  • …But, you know, with the littler teams, it’s natural to get nervous when they slip a bit.
  • …However, these are practice sessions.
  • …Their purpose is to get a feel for the track and sort out problems before the race.
  • …Any of the results you see could be more purposeful than you think.
  • …They could be looking at a potential issue, they could be playing with new communication (Klingon?  Pig Latin?  Angry drunken pirate, like Kimi?), a driver could be a tad under the weather and playing it safe…
  • …The cars could be fine, but someone forgot to pack a part or lost a part, or the backup part is wonky, so they’re taking it easy…
  • …There are a lot of possibilities.
  • …And, there are three practice sessions to work things out through.
  • …The third of which will take place tomorrow, just before Qualifying.
  • …Same Brit time, same Brit track.
  • …Different Yank channel.
  • …Tomorrow’s live broadcast will be on CNBC.
  • …As usual, I will be catching a later rebroadcast.
  • …I do believe that one airs at 2pm ET on NBCSN.
  • …Check your locals to suit your needs.
  • That is it for P2 and that is it for me.
  • Happy 4th, ‘Murka.
  • …I’m off to find something to stuff my face with.
  • …Tag that one #AmericanGirlProblems.
  • …The annual 4th of July “Twilight Zone” marathon is on Syfy.
  • Cheerio, my teabagging friends!
  • …(Like no one saw that one coming.)
  • …(Ooo!  Drums, please!)
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