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

  • Well…
  • …Long time, no see.
  • It’s 6:30ish.
  • And, it’s a grand prix kind of morning.
  • Monza, people.
  • It’s the Grand Prix of Italy.
  • A little look at the Gran Premio d’Italia…
  • …Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
  • …Which is shaped like the foot that goes in the boot that is Italy.
  • …And, appropriately, it will kick your butt.
  • …Monza has been, in one circuit incarnation or another, on the F1 calendar since the inaugural season.
  • …And, the circuit has (only) been swapped out once (for Imola).
  • …Also worth noting is that it is not only near Milan, more importantly, it is near Maranello.
  • …The home of Ferrari.
  • …So, Ferrari, Ferrari, Ferrari.
  • …The track is run clockwise.
  • …Start line is at the arch of the foot.
  • …It is 5.793km (3.599mi) long.
  • …And, on race day, today, it will be lapped 53 times.
  • …Which will put the total distance travelled…
  • …For those lucky enough to finish…
  • …At 306.720km (190.587mi).
  • …Most of which are raced at the highest speeds of the season.
  • …The average speed being brought down by a few tight corners.
  • …And, that average speed (still) being around 150mph.
  • …With much of the straight-heavy track being taken in excess of 200mph.
  • …So, when you’re thinking F1 speeds, you’re (probably) thinking Monza.
  • …Of the 11 turns, the most famous may be the Parabolica.
  • …The final turn, Turn 11.
  • …The toe of the foot.
  • …Which like a terrifyingly long U-turn.
  • …And, it is the source of a bit of controversy this year.
  • …Parabolica was surrounded by gravel.
  • …Monza opted to pave it into runoff space (this season).
  • …So, drivers could have the opportunity to regain control and rejoin the race (optimistically), rather than skid into the gravel, hit the wall, and beach themselves at the tricky corner.
  • …Thus far, I’ve not heard any (real) complaints.
  • …And, I’ve not seen much of a difference.
  • …There was a lot of talk of the new configuration changing braking points.
  • …But, there hasn’t been any really, truly noticeable changes in the action.
  • …As of yet.
  • …So, that’s Monza.
  • The 2013 Italian Grand Prix…
  • …Was won by Red Bull’s Vettel.
  • …Second went to Ferrari’s Alonso.
  • …Who took the opportunity to take a few crowd shots and selfies while on the podium.
  • …Images that have become iconic.
  • …So, not, like, duckface and arched back in the bathroom mirror.
  • …When asked whether he would do it (again, this year), Alonso suggested even if he doesn’t get on the podium, he might have to go up and get some (anyway).
  • …I support that idea.
  • …In third was Red Bull’s Webber.
  • …So, Alonso was between the quarreling teammates.
  • …As he was this year, at the pre-event press conference.
  • …When he was put between Mercedes’ Hamilton and Rosberg.
  • …Because, I guess, he’s cool like that.
  • The weather at Monza…
  • …77F and a tad overcast.
  • Cars are lining up.
  • …Hamilton on pole.
  • …Followed by five more Mercedes’ powered-cars.
  • …Rosberg, Williams’ Bottas and Massa, and McLaren’s Magnussen and Button.
  • Lights go out!
  • Frogger expert Alonso eyes openings from seventh.
  • Hamilton and Bottas have alarmingly slow starts.
  • …Bottas being behind Hamilton.
  • …Which could be the issue, there.
  • Rosberg and Massa fire ahead of their leading teammates.
  • …With Magnussen and his dynamic start between them.
  • Replay of the start…
  • …Yeah, Hamilton’s car was not moving.
  • …And, Bottas was stuck behind the trouble.
  • …He just got lost in the swarm.
  • …But, Bottas is another Frogger expert.
  • …So, don’t count the Finn out.
  • Hamilton has found more power and worked his way up to third.
  • …This is a guy who can get a podium from the pits.
  • …So, if the problem is fixed, he’s good to go.
  • Massa remains in second.
  • Magnussen drops.
  • Marussia’s Chilton is sitting on the side of the track.
  • …Reports are that he (simply) hit the Turn 4 curbing hard, lost it, and went into the wall.
  • …So, a wild, bumpy exit for Chilton.
  • …Guess he’s out of podium contention.
  • Rosberg goes off!!!
  • …Mercedes had radioed Rosberg to tell him that Hamilton’s rear tires were getting a bit sketchy and that he should watch out for that.
  • …Not long after, Rosberg takes his car through the chicane.
  • …Which is, essentially, a little obstacle course runoff, leading back to the track.
  • …Oh, man is he lucky to have gotten out of that one.
  • …And, he (only) diminished his lead by (about) half.
  • Hamilton passes Massa for second.
  • …So, somehow, after all that drama…
  • …Mercedes is in the lead.
  • At Lap 11…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, and Magnussen in the lead.
  • …Because…
  • …I don’t know how that happened.
  • Bottas is in eighth.
  • …Behind Alonso and Button.
  • …If anyone is wondering what happened to those guys.
  • …They’re (all) still in it.
  • …It’s just very heavy competition at the front.
  • …And, it’s Monza.
  • Chilton is the lone retirement at Lap 16.
  • …Yes, after all that, there is (only) one retirement.
  • …But, such a big one.
  • …(Not really.  I’d love to see Marussia and Caterham have some amazing luck, even better luck than they did at Monaco, but, realistically, they’re anchored at the bottom.)
  • Bottas has gotten around Alonso.
  • …Two Frogger masters.
  • …One, with a fantastic car and a Mercedes power unit.
  • …Bottas has been on the podium four of the last five rounds.
  • …And, he and Massa were (both) re-signed by Williams this morning.
  • …Which wasn’t a shock.
  • …Williams has the enviable package this season.
  • …After a horrifying 2013 season, their 2014 car is competitive, they nabbed the sponsor everyone in racing wants (Martini), they have a dream team driver lineup (the experienced, successful Massa with the freakishly talented second-year Bottas), their development driver (Susie Wolff) has even had a solid introduction to running practice sessions, and the entire organization just seems happy with everything.
  • …So, things are great at Williams.
  • …How’s that for something to strive for, other, crankier teams?
  • Bottas passes Button.
  • …Fifth to fourth.
  • There is a flurry of pitting going on.
  • …So, the standings are all over the place.
  • Force India’s Perez has sneaked up the standings.
  • …He has leaped (both) Alonso and Button.
  • …He does that.
  • …He’s sneaky.
  • …And, Force India used their pit stop wisely.
  • Bottas pits.
  • …Reenters behind Magnussen.
  • …Who is an incredible defensive driver.
  • …And, will make life difficult for Bottas.
  • …(Probably) not for long, though.
  • Red Bull’s Ricciardo has used the stops to work his way up to third.
  • …After starting in ninth.
  • …But, he loses it when he (finally) has to pit.
  • The only remaining driver who has yet to pit is Toro Rosso’s Kvyat.
  • …Who is (now) hanging out in fourth.
  • At Lap 28…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, and Kvyat lead.
  • …But, don’t hold your breath on Kvyat retaining that.
  • …He has to pit some time.
  • …And, everyone else (already) has.
  • …It’s the gamble of pit stop timing.
  • Alonso is out!!!
  • …His Ferrari appears to have just died at Turn 1!
  • …Just a very slow pull off onto the grass.
  • …Lame.
  • Rosberg, too, goes for a little Sunday drive at T1.
  • …But, has power and goes back to work.
  • …Losing the lead, however.
  • Magnussen, true to form, denies Bottas a pass.
  • …Bottas squeezes in some weekend off-roading.
  • …As I was saying, Magnussen is (really) good at making life miserable for anyone trying to get around him.
  • …By the way, that was at T1.
  • …T1 may have to retire.
  • …It’s worn out.
  • NBCSN is smacking down some numbers…
  • …In the words of Bender Bending Rodriguez (of “Futurama”)…
  • …”Whatcha got there?  Numbers?”…
  • …This is Alonso’s first mechanical in 86 races.
  • …He has (also) earned points in every race this season.
  • …I’m going to repeat my deep insight on this one…
  • …Lame.
  • Bottas (finally) gets around Magnussen.
  • …Magnussen is under investigation for forcing Bottas off (earlier).
  • …For the second race in a row.
  • …At Spa, he lost points after stewards decided that he forced Alonso off in what appeared to just be very good, competitive defensive driving.
  • …And, it’s just been announced that he has been slapped with a penalty for this one.
  • …Five second drive-through (stop/go) for Magnussen.
  • …From what I’m hearing, I’m not the only one wondering if they’re taking crazy pills on these matters.
  • …It looks like legitimate, very competitive racing.
  • Stop everything…
  • …Geri Halliwell is there.
  • …That’s Ginger Spice, people.
  • …Loooooook-at-her…
  • …Awesome.
  • Lots and lots of action further back.
  • …After a long, back-and-forth battle, Perez (finally) gets around Button and takes off.
  • …But, Ricciardo zipped past both of them beforehand.
  • …And, Ricciardo has just passed Magnussen.
  • At Lap 45…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, and Bottas lead.
  • …Vettel, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Perez, Button, and Räikkönen (the remaining Ferrari, at Monza) round out the top 10.
  • Oh, man, the Red Bulls are at it!!!
  • …Ricciardo’s going to do it…
  • …He does it!
  • …Ricciardo passes Vettel for fifth.
  • …Now, THAT’S interteam battling, kids.
  • …Now, remember, those Red Bulls were not expected to do very well at Monza.
  • …They seem to have made the most of it, haven’t they?
  • …Also, Red Bull directed Ricciardo to “Get him!”.
  • …Oh, I’m not pointing out these team dynamics for any reason in particular…
  • On a totally different note…
  • …Completely unrelated…
  • …I enjoyed that shot of Hamilton, in slow mo, surrounded by brake smoke.
  • …Very 1980s metal video.
  • …Because, Mercedes needs more drama.
  • …As much as they can get.
  • …Whenever and wherever they can get it.
  • Two laps left.
  • …Man, that went fast!
  • …I was noting the laps, but not registering the countdown.
  • Man, was that an off for Kvyat!
  • …VERY high speed skid over the grass.
  • …Right PAST the obstacle course.
  • …He holds it and rejoins.
  • …That was amazing.
  • …It could have been so bad.
  • …Oh, phew!
  • Hamilton wins.
  • …Rosberg takes second.
  • …And, more excitingly, Massa takes third.
  • …Massa was with Ferrari for a lifetime.
  • …He did very well, he’s very likable…
  • …So, there’s a little something for the fans at Monza.
  • …From the Williams guy.
  • …Because, Kimi’s in ninth.
  • …Bottas comes back from being buried at the start and blocked by Magnussen to take fourth.
  • …Likewise, Ricciardo fought back to fifth.
  • …Teammate Vettel takes sixth.
  • …Perez rocks it to seventh.
  • …Button yoinks eighth.
  • …And, Kimi and Magnussen round out the top 10.
  • …Once again, it all goes confusingly wrong for The Incredible Hülkenberg comes away with no points.
  • …12th place for the German.
  • …One of the most stable, reliable, talented drivers out there…
  • …He’s gone from a long string of Q3 advancements and points finishes to…
  • …Whatever this is.
  • …It’s worth noting that both Lotuses finished the race.
  • …They came in, knowing they couldn’t compete.
  • …The Practice sessions were grotesque.
  • …But, they finished.
  • …In fact, Grosjean finished, airborne.
  • …He hit those hard curbs and went for an aerial tour.
  • …But, landed in the right place.
  • …16th.
  • …Maldonado takes 14th.
  • You know what?
  • …Alonso needs to get up on that podium, hug the crap out of his little buddy, and get those selfies.
  • …It would be (totally) legitimate.
  • …Alonso and Massa are such a cute pair.
  • …Lots of love, there.
  • …Alonso, being the kind of guy he is, has got to be incredibly happy for Massa.
  • …Rather than dwelling on that retirement he had no control over.
  • So, my prediction for Ferrari…
  • …On Monday, the entire team will fire itself out of existence.
  • Time for the podium.
  • …Let’s get weird!
  • …If Rosberg’s creepy, “go team” radio transmission was a preview…
  • …Expect more ventriloquism.
  • …Fun fact:
  • …There were two “Twilight Zone” episodes dedicated to ventriloquist dummies.
  • …Just saying.
  • …Yes!  A HUGE roar for Massa!
  • …Giving the people what they wanted.
  • …If delayed just a season.
  • …Why is there booing for Rosberg?
  • …Not much, but (definitely) audible.
  • …He didn’t win, ya freaks.
  • …You’re late to that game.
  • …Is Rosberg signing that flag being held up in front of him?
  • …It appears so.
  • …Someone is holding a huge Ferrari flag right up against the podium, with what appears to be a Sharpie attached.
  • …And, the drivers are signing it!
  • …Is there a better crowd atmosphere than at Monza?
  • …It’s just amazing.
  • …That Italian passion at work.
  • …Rosberg reminds everyone that he speaks fluent Italian.
  • …Massa reminds everyone that he speaks fluent Italian AND is Felipe Massa.
  • …Man, that is just awesome.
  • …People just really do love Massa and want to see him have some luck to match his talent and experience.
  • …And, what better place than at Monza?
  • …Fingers (already) crossed for Brazil.
  • …(My fingers are always crossed for Massa at Brazil.)
  • Unrelated to the results…
  • …I forgot to mention (when reviewing Qualifying) that Lotus was fined 1000 Euro for Maldonado, speeding in the pits in Q1.
  • …If you’ll recall, at the end of the session, he’d been told to stop changing gears.
  • …There was a serious issue with the gearbox.
  • …So, I’m wondering if he just couldn’t get the speed down to where it needed to be, between the instructions to stop changing gears and the urgency to get the car back to the pits.
  • Ricciardo is reporting that the race was “good fun”.
  • …He keeps smiling (seriously, I kid you not), laughing, and mentioning “fun”.
  • …Another spectacular fight from the perpetually stoked Aussie.
  • …Also, he joins Vettel in subtly jabbing Mercedes with jokes in reference to that Spa incident.
  • …You just have to like what Red Bull and their guys have going there.
  • …Even struggling this season (relative to past seasons, of course), they’re just enjoying what they do.
  • Wow, Magnussen is filthy.
  • …Brake dust.
  • …This guy was slapped with a penalty and he’s (still) smiling and talking about how great it all was, how much he’s enjoyed it.
  • …He’s focusing on reviewing the incidents and seeing what he can do about it.
  • …He doesn’t seem to be worried about it.
  • …He shouldn’t be.
  • …No one can see where these decisions have come from.
  • …General consensus seems to be the same as mine.
  • …It was very competitive, but very fair, racing.
  • …Magnussen noted that Bottas is a great driver that can handle that level of racing.
  • …Which is absolutely true.
  • …That level of defensive driving is exactly what it takes to keep drivers like Bottas and Alonso from rolling right past.
  • …It’s not blocking.
  • …It’s legitimately smart driving.
  • …And, I would put Magnussen, himself, in that very same category.
  • …These guys can handle it, they know how to handle it, let them race.
  • …The NBCSN crew brought up Sauber’s Gutierrez, forcing Grojean into that flight over the curbing as the antithesis of this incident.
  • …And, yet, the stewards have yet to call out that incident.
  • …Agreed, agreed, agreed.
  • …Often, I assume I’m just looking at everything too optimistically or with too little analytical experience or I’m taking crazy pills or something.
  • …But, there seems to be an across the board agreement that these Magnussen penalties are the effect of taking crazy pills.
  • …Magnussen had some over-agressive moments earlier in the season.
  • …But, you have to remember that this is his rookie season.
  • …It seems pretty clear that he’s found the limits, what’s okay and what’s not, learned and evolved, and, well, had his hand slapped by the stewards for taking everything he’s learned and using it.
  • …But, whatever.
  • …F1 politics and craziness.
  • Sadly, it seems Vettel did not have an enjoyable drive today.
  • …He doesn’t seem whiny, crabby, or obnoxiously bummed out about it.
  • …But, doesn’t seem happy about it and not into discussing it.
  • …That’s a shame.
  • …I thought he had a really good, really exciting race.
  • On a more interesting note…
  • …These results push Williams 15-points ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.
  • …And, Bottas takes a one-point lead over Alonso for Drivers’ Championship fourth.
  • Important question:
  • …Is Dudu there?
  • …Massa’s brother.
  • …Dudu.
  • …Bygones.
  • Well, I think that’s about that for me.
  • Next up, Singapore.
  • …That narrow street circuit, run under floodlights and the moon.
  • …That will be the weekend after next.
  • …(19-21 September)
  • Ooo-McLaren just posted a post-race shot of Button’s hot pink (“Pink for Papa”) helmet.
  • …If you don’t think F1 racing is a real, athletically demanding, sport…
  • …That thing looks like it’s been through a terrible motorbike crash.
  • …Those drivers take on enormous forces, all without a windshield to protect them from whatever might fly into them at those speeds.
  • …Here’s the link: https://twitter.com/McLarenF1/status/508623013974384640/photo/1
  • …(Yeah, no clever concealing, there.  Why bother, when I introduced it as a link, eh?)
  • …These people take a beating.
  • …And, that helmet shows it.
  • …Goes nicely with filthy Magnussen, doesn’t it.
  • …That’s F1, folks.
  • …Crazy.  Just crazy.
  • Well, on that note, I’ll leave you.
  • …Have a lovely day, wherever you are.
  • …And, rest assured that, for all the bad, the F1 world is (still) a pretty amazing place to be.
  • Arrivederci!
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