MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF ITALY (5.9.2014 – 7.9.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS ON DELAY? /// QUALIFYING…

  • In the words of George Hamilton as Dracula…
  • …Rising up at a Harlem funeral…
  • …Good evening.
  • It is 11:30pm where I am…
  • …And, this is a rebroadcast of this morning’s Qualifying round of…
  • …The Italian Grand Prix.
  • A quick recap of Gran Premio d’Italia…
  • …At Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
  • …Which is in…
  • …You guessed it…
  • …(Hopefully)…
  • …Monza, Italy.
  • …The track is shaped like the foot that goes in the boot that is Italy.
  • …It is run clockwise.
  • …It is 5.793km (3.599mi) long.
  • …On race day, it will be lapped 53 times.
  • …Which brings the total distance to 306.720km (190.587mi).
  • …And, it is one of the oldest circuits in F1.
  • …Having been on the inaugural calendar.
  • …And, having been on the calendar every F1 season.
  • …With the exception of one year, when it was moved to Imola.
  • …In 2013…
  • …Red Bull’s Vettel and Webber sammiched Ferrari’s Alonso.
  • …Who took some very cool, very memorable selfies from the podium.
  • …Yes, those iconic shots are (now, about) one year old.
  • Practice 3…
  • …Was not dominated by Mercedes.
  • …For once.
  • …Hamilton came out on top.
  • …But, gearbox issues meant no time set for Rosberg.
  • …Behind Hamilton were Alonso and the Williams duo of Bottas and Massa.
  • …Going into P3, Toro Rosso’s Kvyat received a 10-place grid penalty for a (magic number) sixth engine change of the season.
  • …Surprisingly, he was the first to hit that number.
  • …And, Caterham’s Ericsson was penalized for speeding under a double yellow flag.
  • …He was (also) slapped with three penalty points.
  • …Tossing suspension of disbelief out the window for a second for an update, Ericsson will be starting from the pits and Kvyat will be on back row 21st.
  • On board with Maldonado.
  • …And, that poor, sad Lotus.
  • …But, you know, they were (all) very verbal about acknowledging that Monza would be impossible for this season’s disaster car.
  • …And, they were right.
  • …Sadly.
  • …But, they know, they’ll get the data they need, and they’ll get through it.
  • …As Maldonado receives a message to stop changing gears.
  • …Clearly, some serious gearbox issues.
  • …But, he’s in the drop zone, so they’ll be able to get the car home and address the issues right away.
  • …Yes, an upside to failing to make it to Q2.
  • Time up…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, and Bottas on top.
  • If you’re new to this…
  • …Yeah, this is not where you should be getting your information.
  • …Yikes.
  • …Anyway…
  • …There are three Free Practice sessions.
  • …Two on day one, one prior to Qualifying.
  • …Then, there’s Qualifying.
  • …Which is comprised of three sessions.
  • …The first two of which are knock-outs, eliminating the bottom six in each.
  • …The third finalizes the grid and decides the pole position.
  • …Which is the car that starts on the front row, with a small, but significant edge.
  • …The grid is staggered.
  • …Which, as it -is- a track, would make sense.
  • …But, because of the F1 start swarm and the turns involved, if Pole Position can hold their place, it -is- an (earned) advantage.
  • …Though, never a sure thing.
  • Q2 begins…
  • …Force India’s Incredible Hülkenberg on track first.
  • …Now, joined by Kvyat and Sauber’s Sutil.
  • …Sutil…
  • …99!!!
  • …This season, drivers were allowed to choose the number they would carry through their career.
  • …Sutil went with 99.
  • …And, despite the Sauber, like the Lotus, being a total disaster and preventing them from earning any points…
  • …Seriously, Sauber has yet to score a point this season…
  • …I think he should get points for choosing 99.
  • …And, for playing piano in a racing suit and a bow tie.
  • …Because, he’s classy like that.
  • …If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Sutil’s (always fun) girlfriend, Jennifer Becks, posted a picture (to her seriously awesome Instagram account, @jenniferbex) and video of Adrian, doing exactly that.
  • …It’s awesome.
  • …99!!!
  • On board with Ferrari’s Räikkönen.
  • …Mr Of Espoo.
  • …Whose car is looking grotesquely twitchy.
  • …As the World Champion sits in 10th with one minute to go.
  • …(Only) 10 will move on.
  • Time is up.
  • …Flying laps, coming in.
  • …McLaren’s Magnussen bumps Kimi out and takes 10th.
  • …Ooo, insult to injury, Kvyat shoves him down one more.
  • …In a Toro Rosso.
  • …A guy who was a teenager for the first part of the season.
  • …Ouch.
  • …Once again, Hamilton and Rosberg take the first two spots.
  • …The Williams boys switch positions, with Bottas leading Massa, right behind them.
  • …It should be noted that Williams is Mercedes-powered.
  • …The Mercedes power unit has been the most successful this season.
  • …Figuring out the new configurations faster than Renault and Ferrari.
  • …The Mercedes-powered teams being Mercedes (obviously), Williams, Force India, and McLaren.
  • …Renaults are Red Bull, Toro Rosso (Red Bull, Junior), and Caterham.
  • …Ferrari-powered are Ferrari (not kidding, no), Sauber, and Marussia.
  • Q3 gets underway.
  • Rosberg radios with high tire temperatures.
  • …Mercedes has had serious brake issues all season.
  • …No team is trouble-free, and Mercedes’ troubles include failing and flaming brakes.
  • …But, the air temperature was in the 80s (Fahrenheit).
  • …After a quite cool Belgian GP.
  • …So…yeah.
  • …That (probably) wasn’t even worth mentioning.
  • …Sorry.
  • Force India’s Perez is the first to set a time.
  • …The lone remaining Force India.
  • …After Mr Incredible was knocked out in Q2.
  • …HÜLKENBERG NO LIKE KNOCK OUT.
  • …Agreed.
  • …Force India started as frontrunners.
  • …I don’t know what happened.
  • …The Hülkenberg curse?
  • …Mr Incredible is this tremendous driver who has this bad luck following him.
  • …He leaves a team to go to a better one.
  • …Then, their luck switches.
  • …He was at Force India, he went to Sauber, he went back to Force India.
  • …At least Force India is (still) doing okay.
  • …Far better than Sauber’s disaster.
  • …But, they’ve been struggling.
  • …However, remember that the same thing happened last year.
  • …Sutil and di Resta started well.
  • …Then, something happened.
  • …Could be a Force India curse.
  • …Or, it could all be coincidence.
  • …Anyway, Mr Incredible is a truly talented driver with (kind of) hideous luck.
  • Time is up.
  • …Flying laps…
  • …Hamilton takes pole.
  • …Rosberg, Bottas, and Massa follow.
  • …And, interestingly enough…
  • …McLaren’s Magnussen and Button take the third row.
  • …As I was saying…
  • …Mercedes power.
  • …Alonso and Vettel take the fourth row.
  • …And, Red Bull’s Ricciardo (winner of the last round, Belgium) and Perez take the fifth row.
  • …Red Bull was another team who weren’t shy about knowing where their car would stand at Monza.
  • …But, they’ve made it work.
  • …Having a four-time World Champion and a guy who’s won three races this year (the only non-Mercedes driver to do so) behind those Sega handhelds -does- help, I suspect.
  • Can I address the Parabolica debate?
  • …Oh, hey, look…
  • …It’s my site, so I guess I can.
  • …Okay, so, Turn 11…
  • …The toe of the foot…
  • …Known as Parabolica…
  • …Was a big gravel trap.
  • …This year, Monza paved the area surrounding it, to make it a runoff.
  • …So cars have space to regain control and (hopefully) get back on track.
  • …But, there was this whole, big debate over it and predictions regarding braking point changes, etc.
  • …Honestly, I haven’t seen any hugely significant change.
  • …Definitely, nothing noticeable.
  • …In other words, the race as a show does not appear to have been affected.
  • …And, I haven’t read any reports of drivers, freaking out over it.
  • …So…
  • …I think it’s a-okay.
  • Post-event press conference…
  • …Wow.
  • …If you’re into ventriloquism…
  • …A) Creepy.
  • …B) Boy, does Mercedes have a show for you.
  • …Man, what a mess.
  • …They’re told to race, they make contact so innocent that not only did no one think anything of it (other than that it was a racing incident), the stewards didn’t even bother looking at it…
  • …But, clearly, they’ve been talked at quite a bit over it.
  • …Rosberg apologized for absolutely nothing and both drivers are talking about the team like pod people.
  • …Awesome.
  • …That’s EXACTLY why people watch F1.
  • …The politics and lifeless talking heads.
  • …Sorry, but that was hideous.
  • …But, whatever.
  • …If Mercedes wants to head down a creepy evil domination route, that’s their call.
  • …Just, you know, don’t ruin your drivers.
  • …They really and truly are talented and seem like very nice guys.
  • …It would be a shame for them to wear out or become detrimentally jaded prematurely.
  • …Even with Vettel and Webber not getting along, Red Bull kept a pretty relaxed atmosphere.
  • …They’d have issues, big issues, a lot of favoritism and such.
  • …But, it’s like they made it a priority to make sure the atmosphere remained a positive one.
  • …Mercedes does not seem to be doing that.
  • …At the moment.
  • …I hope they can get there.
  • …For everyone’s sake.
  • Interview with Alonso…
  • …He seems happy.
  • …Maybe not so satisfied with placing seventh.
  • …But, he acknowledges that they knew they were going to have trouble this season and seems pretty positive about it.
  • …And, you have to remember that Alonso is one of those guys who has a knack for getting through traffic.
  • …A Frogger expert.
  • …So, you know, no worries about Alonso.
  • …Love his response to the prospect of another podium selfie.
  • …Even if he doesn’t get on the podium, he may have to go up there and get one, anyway.
  • …Yes!!!
  • Okay, well, that is that for Qualifying.
  • If you are in the US…
  • …Grand Prix coverage starts at 7:30am (ET).
  • …NBCSN.
  • …With a rebroadcast of Qualifying immediately before.
  • The forecast looks like today’s (at Monza).
  • …So, sunny and 80s.
  • …Gelato weather.
  • …Though, eating gelato while racing will not be recommended.
  • …It adds weight and has the potential to get everything all sticky.
  • …Very distracting.
  • …Though, if any team would like to offer some to other teams, I would say that is more amusing than shady and that they should go for it.
  • On that note…
  • …I’ll be back in a few hours for the Italian Grand Prix.
  • …(I don’t have gelato, but thinking about it is forcing me to fight the urge to go Tasmanian Devil on some chocolate ice cream.)
  • …Good night!
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