MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN (3.10.2014 – 5.10.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS ON DELAY? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Hi.
  • Suzuka.
  • Qualifying.
  • Let’s do this.
  • I’m doing this on a rebroadcast.
  • …Fashionably late, if you will.
  • …But, I have a Hello Kitty-like love of Suzuka.
  • …So, here we go.
  • Before we begin…
  • …You know what’s coming, don’t you?
  • …Yeah…
  • …Just after 8pm last night, I was dicking around, looking at F1 and WRC stuff on Facebook, when a little announcement popped up.
  • …My sister’s cats were hanging out by the heat vents all day.
  • …Yeah, it was that windy and chilly.
  • …Oh, and Vettel will be leaving Red Bull.
  • …Which was as shocking as seeing a rain-snow mix in the overnight forecast.
  • …Okay, way more.
  • …We can get snow 12 months of the year.
  • …I thought Red Bull was such a happy family and that Vettel would be a lifer.
  • …But, as it turns out, they are a happy family, but it’s just time to explore.
  • …I (really) hate to see the Horner/Vettel band break up, but they seem okay and, you know, who can’t relate to wanting to see what else is out there?
  • …Plus, the 2015 lineup is so exciting.
  • …Ricciardo and Kvyat.
  • …Ricciardo has had such a spectacular season.
  • …And, Kvyat?
  • …I was so skeptical, but he’s done fantastically and acted professionally.
  • …I just really like the kid.
  • …Their heads much be exploding.
  • …Can you imagine?
  • …Kvyat has just landed one of the most, if not thee most, coveted seat in F1.
  • …After one season.
  • …And, Ricciardo will be leading the team.
  • …After one year driving for them, after graduating from Toro Rosso.
  • …So, all around, very surprising, a little sad, but so very much more exciting for everyone.
  • …As for where Vettel will go?
  • …It’s not been announced.
  • …But, it’s expected to be announced that Alonso will be leaving Ferrari (a McLaren signing is anticipated), and it’s a valid bet that the seat moves will coincide.
  • …As for the Toro Rosso seat, vacated by Kvyat?
  • …No idea.
  • …Hopefully, they’ve decided to retain Vergne.
  • …Who was set to lose his seat to Verstappen.
  • …Who is 17 and could use an experienced partner.
  • …But, it’s only a hopeful thought.
  • …And, as for McLaren?
  • …No idea.
  • …They change their mind on who they like more every race.
  • …Sadly, Button sounds like he’s accepted the possibility that his F1 career may be over.
  • …I mean, it’s great he’s taking the high road and focusing on the positive.
  • …But, I’d so love him to fight for his F1 life.
  • …He’s just so good, such a fun personality, and just an all-around class act.
  • …Then, again, Magnussen has had such an amazing rookie season, he shouldn’t be ousted, either.
  • …At this point, I’d like to congratulate those who can cheer against people and be okay with chucking people out.
  • …Stupid Pollyanna racing attitude.
  • Sorry, I just blew through Q1, babbling about Silly Season.
  • Q1 time is up.
  • …Flying laps are coming in.
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton and Rosberg on top.
  • …Followed by the Williams boys of Bottas and Massa.
  • …The usual suspects (Lotus, Marussia, and Caterham) are knocked out and will hold their positions.
  • …But, don’t forget that Maldonado had to switch to his sixth engine for this weekend.
  • …That means a 10-place grid penalty.
  • …Prior to this, Renault had (already) announced that they are ready for the sixth engines.
  • …We all knew this season would be challenging and that the engines would be blown through like toilet paper at a bad Mongolian bbq place.
  • …I think Lotus will be back next season.
  • …They had a nightmare start, they know it, and they’ve been treating every race like a learning experience, rather than crying over the numbers.
  • Q2…
  • …How about a little review of the track and such?
  • …Suzuka Circuit.
  • …It is 5.807km (3.60mi) long.
  • …On race day, there will be 53 laps.
  • …Which will bring the total distance to 307.471km (191.053mi).
  • …For those who make it through.
  • …Now, what makes Suzuka truly unique is that it doesn’t just run clockwise, it doesn’t just run counterclockwise…
  • …It runs clockwise AND counterclockwise.
  • …Yeah!
  • …The track is infinity-shaped.
  • …Okay, here’s my thinking…
  • …New tagline for the Japanese Grand Prix…
  • …It’s crazy fucking eights!
  • …Anyone want to debate the accuracy?
  • …It’s very fast, it has weird turns (including the S-turns, made so famous by Senna and Prost, taking each other out), and it’s shaped like an 8.
  • …There you go.
  • …Vettel and Räikkönen can sell it.
  • …They speak the language.
  • …Naughty boys.
  • …You’re welcome.
  • …Anyway, last year, Vettel took the win.
  • …He was followed by (teammate) Webber and Lotus’ Grosjean.
  • …I’ll be honest, I think, of those, Webber may have the best odds of winning this year.
  • …And, if you’ve forgotten, Webber retired after last season and moved onto World Endurance Championship racing.
  • …Unless the Mercs run into one another, of course.
  • …Then, Vettel may have a shot.
  • …Grosjean will not be on the podium.
  • …He just won’t.
  • …The driver is perfect, the car is hideous.
  • …Again, next year, Lotus; next year.
  • Okay, I was given a heads up on this…
  • …From my mom.
  • …Seriously, she’s been an F1 fan since she was a kid, she hooks me up with notes when she knows I won’t be able to catch things.
  • …Yes, I reciprocate.
  • …Anyway, the typhoon set to hit Japan has been upgraded.
  • …Now, the concern (here) is not the potential for bad racing weather.
  • …The concern is that the Russian Grand Prix is next week.
  • …Teams may not be able to get their freight out of Japan and to Russia in time.
  • …So, as of yesterday, there was talk, but nothing announced.
  • …Today, the plan is that, if things start to look too ominous, too risky, tomorrow’s GP will be cancelled.
  • …The results will be the Qualifying results.
  • That said, Q2 comes to a close.
  • …The Mercedes boys swap spots.
  • …And, are (still) followed by Bottas and Massa.
  • …Both Toro Rossos, both Force Indias, and both Saubers are out.
  • Man, could that sky look more ‘calm before the storm’?
  • …It’s that dark grey, with sun.
  • …Pretty classic approaching storm skies.
  • …If you don’t know what a typhoon is, it’s a hurricane.
  • …Or, a cyclone.
  • …Different names for different regions.
  • …But, they’re (all) oceanic rotating storm cells.
  • …Bred by mermaids.
  • Mansell’s moustaches!!!
  • …He has three.
  • …If you never noticed.
  • …No, really.
  • …I promise you will never look at him/life the same way (again).
  • So…
  • …Where’s Kimi?
  • …Nine drivers are on the board.
  • …Kimi’s Ferrari is in the garage.
  • …I feel like we’ve seen scenes like this before.
  • Time’s up.
  • …Kimi appears on the board.
  • …Flying laps.
  • …Rosberg takes pole.
  • …Dancey-dancey-lucite-prancey!
  • …Hamilton, Bottas, and Massa take understudy duties.
  • …Kimi plops in 10th.
  • …Now, the question is…
  • …Will there be a race?
  • …Stay tuned, I guess.
  • Now, because I’m doing this one delay, I can add some post-race details.
  • …No, I have no storm updates.
  • …However, Vergne was handed a 10-spot grid penalty.
  • …Yep, he joined the sixth engine club.
  • …Recall that Verstappen drove Vergne’s car in P1, ending the session with engine failure.
  • …Then, Vergne’s car crapped out not once, but twice in P2.
  • …He made it out of Qualifying okay.
  • …He placed 11th.
  • …Just missing Q3.
  • …But, I guess the poor thing was just expired.
  • …The car.
  • …Not Vergne.
  • …Vergne is good to fucking go.
  • …For the record.
  • Post-event press conference.
  • …Once Hamilton can start to believe that there are just some days when he’s “not feeling it”, accepting it, rather than just saying it, he’ll be in rad shape.
  • …Really, he does seem like such a (genuinely) nice guy – and such a great talent.
  • …The same goes for Rosberg.
  • …It’s so hideous to see so much Mercedes weirdness.
  • …I mean, does anyone want to disagree that it’s clear that they’re struggling to fulfill public relations duties?
  • …In other words, the smiles look as forced as the words sound.
  • …Hopefully, it’ll be a case of “fake it ’til you make it”.
  • …Then, there’s Bottas.
  • …Nordics aren’t very good at not being brutally and bluntly honest.
  • …Your Williams preview: the cars might suck (if it rains).
  • …Thank you, Herra Valtteri.
  • Ooo-interview with Christian Horner.
  • …Ack!  Yes, it’s all good, it’s all positive…
  • …But, they’re breaking up the band.
  • …You know what?
  • …Everything Horner is saying?
  • …Yes.
  • …Just, yes.
  • …Also, Ferrari.
  • …And, Ferrari.
  • …And, “Well, he’s not going to Caterham.”
  • …Love it.
  • …Perfect, snarky, hilarious, love it.
  • …The NBCSN guys brought up a good little factoid I’d forgotten about.
  • …That Vettel -did- buy his dad a Ferrari earlier this year.
  • …That was a talking point.
  • …I doubt there could have been anything to it.
  • …But, what’s important (here) is that Vettel’s dad’s name is Norbert.
  • …Norbert Vettel.
  • …Something they left out.
  • …Important things.
  • …Norbert.
  • …So, what if Vettel signed with McLaren?
  • Hey!  Time to talk to Vettel!
  • …Who came in ninth, yes.
  • …Asshole.
  • …Wouldn’t have him any other way.
  • …He has that same balance of excited and sad.
  • …And, as usual, is direct and clear.
  • …And, smiling like a little troublemaker.
  • …It all seems very clear-cut.
  • …Relatable to everyone.
  • …It’s time to move on.
  • …You know…I (always) tell people that nothing is forever unless you want it to be.
  • …You can change your mind a zillion times, try new things, go forward, or go back.
  • …Humans are bouncy balls.
  • …Simple physics, really.
  • …Vettel is taking a bounce in a new direction.
  • …Let’s see where he goes.
  • Okay, well, that’s that for Qualifying.
  • If the race goes as scheduled, it will be on NBCSN at 1:30am (ET).
  • …And, if not, well, I’m not sure.
  • …Guess we’ll (all) just have to wait and see.
  • So, until then…
  • …Or, until next weekend…
  • …Have a lovely rest of your Saturday.
  • …You little bouncy balls, you!
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