MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF BELGIUM (26.8.2016 – 28.8.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning!
  • I know it’s early.
  • 6am early in my part of the world.
  • And, as much as we (all) love breaks…
  • …Even from the things we love…
  • It’s over.
  • Get the fuck up.
  • F1 is back, for cryin’ out fucking loud!
  • And, you know what?
  • It’s Spa.
  • So, let’s get up and go, buttercup!
  • The 2016 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix…
  • …At the infamous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
  • …Hidden away in the endless woods of Francorchamps, Stavelot, Belgium.
  • …7.004km (4.352mi) in length.
  • …19 turns.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …Shaping the track into either a futuristic squirt gun, or an ice tool.
  • …Choose your own misadventure, kids.
  • …Today, there are 44 laps scheduled.
  • …Which will bring the total distance traveled to 308.052km (191.415mi).
  • …Should the race go its full length.
  • …And, the drivers complete the task.
  • Weather-wise…
  • …It’s a tad cooler than it has been (this weekend).
  • …But, under dark cloud of a harsh European heat wave, it’s (all) relative.
  • …With the current air temperature sitting at 79F.
  • …Cloudy, but with little chance of rain.
  • …A rarity at Spa.
  • …In other words, don’t hold your breath.
  • Here’s your starting grid, complete with 2015 results in parentheses.
  • …Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg-Germany (2) / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen-The Netherlands (8)
  • …Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen-Finland (7) / Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel-Germany (12)
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo-Australia (DNF) / Force India’s Sergio Perez-Mexico (5)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg-Germany (DNF) / Williams’ Valtteri Bottas-Finland (9)
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button-Great Britain (14) / Williams’ Felipe Massa-Brazil (6)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean-France (3) / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen-Denmark (N/A)
  • …Renault’s Jolyon Palmer-Great Britain (N/A) / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr-Spain (DNF)
  • …Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein-Germany (N/A) / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr-Brazil (11)
  • …Manor’s Esteban Ocon-France (N/A) / Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez-Mexico (N/A)*
  • …Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat-Russia (4) / Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson-Sweden (10)*
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton-Great Britain (1)* / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso-Spain (13)*
  • *Penalties*…
  • …Gutierrez qualified 13th, but earned a five-place penalty for impeding (on Wehrlein) in P3.
  • …Ericsson qualified 20th, but was handed a 10-place technical penalty (sixth turbocharger).
  • …And, Alonso and Hamilton were handed 35- and 55-place technical penalties (respectively), for long lists of power unit-related changes.
  • …Yes, the powers that be are (still) using stupid numbers that disappear after this race.
  • …Rather than just topping out at 22.
  • …Because, F1 is silly like that.
  • …You know, not so much.
  • News?
  • …Actually, everyone was pretty busy, trying to enjoy their abbreviated break.
  • …But, after several years and one kid, Kimi and Minttu threw a giant Italian wedding.
  • …Minttu has posted a few shots on her Instagram feed, and there are a couple shots floating around (if you do a little digging – respectful, genuinely curious digging – they looked very happy.)
  • …There are 20,000-ish fans at Spa – imported just for Verstappen this weekend.
  • …Yes, 20,000.
  • …All of whom drove from The Netherlands to Belgium to the tune of “Radar Love”.
  • …Which took them the whole way.
  • …Small countries, long song.
  • …Vettel spent his break, becoming the feral child of a bigfoot couple.
  • …He is (now) Sebsquatch.
  • …And, I’ve come up with a whole song, to the tune of “Plant Man”.
  • …Because, I was at work, and I have severe Adult ADD.
  • …Maybe I’ll treat you to some of it later.
  • …Manor was not able to reach a deal with Rio Haryanto, for the second half of the season.
  • …But, they’ve retained him as a reserve.
  • …And, they’ve put Esteban Ocon in the seat.
  • …So, welcome to F1, Esteban 2.
  • …And, it’s Bottas’ 27th birthday.
  • …Eat the cake.
  • …It won’t have any effect on this year’s Williams.
  • Here we go!
  • Turn 1…
  • The Ferraris collide!!!
  • …Sebsquatch is sitting sideways!!!
  • …Kimi’s car is limping off.
  • …After just missing his first Pole in eight years.
  • …And, leading the current drivers in wins at Spa (four).
  • Verstappen (also) appears to have some damage.
  • You have to love that Spa T1.
  • Verstappen pits for a new front wing.
  • Huge blowout for Sainz.
  • …Which spins him around, turning him into a passenger.
  • …And, ultimately, takes out his rear wing.
  • Kimi pits.
  • …Oh, and he’s on fire!!!
  • …They’re trying to swap out the front wing.
  • …And, there’s a fire under the car.
  • Button is out.
  • …Rear ended by Wehrlein.
  • Ericsson is out.
  • …Mechanicals.
  • Wehrlein is out.
  • …He’s back in the paddock, waving his hands in fury.
  • …So, okay.
  • MASSIVE crash at Eau Rouge for Magnussen!
  • …That was a huge impact.
  • …Parts everywhere.
  • …That car just exploded into the barriers.
  • …The little protective part around the cockpit that they flip off at the end?
  • …That went flying into the debris cloud.
  • …And, Magnussen is out, but limping away.
  • …Oh, jeez, is that thing on fire?!
  • …There is not much left of that Renault.
  • …That is one very lucky boy.
  • …Joining his teammate, who lost most of the front of his car earlier this year.
  • …And, Alonso, who started the season with one of the most dramatic crashes in F1 history.
  • …This is why F1 continues to explore things like the halo.
  • …Bad crashes happen at high speeds.
  • …Anything that can minimize the damage is worth a try.
  • Anyway, we’re under a Safety Car.
  • …And, all that Safety Car pitting and shuffling.
  • Red Flag.
  • …There’s too much damage to the barrier.
  • …All cars go to pitlane.
  • …As a crew tries to fix the damage.
  • Oh, my god!
  • …I thought they were just showing replays!
  • …No, Sainz was (still) waiting on track!
  • …Someone has -finally- remembered to retrieve him.
  • …Just now.
  • …So, Sainz is the Misfit Toy of the day.
  • …Slow.
  • …Clap.
  • Verstappen has name-drop-kicked Sebsquatch a few times in a conversation with Mister Spice and crew.
  • …The thing you have to remember is that Sebsquatch spent his break as the feral child of a bigfoot couple.
  • …He’s had to forage for survival.
  • …While his aggression has increased, his spacial awareness and vehicular knowhow may be a bit off.
  • …Sebsquatch knows where the track will flow.
  • …Sebsquatch knows how the tires will roll.
  • …Sebsquatch.
  • …Sebsquatch.
  • …Sebsquatch.
  • …Sebsquatch knows what The Iceman says.
  • …Sebsquatch likes what the Finns might say.
  • …Sebsquatch.
  • …Sebsquatch.
  • …Seb…squatch.
  • At Lap 10…yep…10…
  • …Rosberg, Ricciardo, Hülkenberg, Alonso, and Hamilton lead.
  • …Oh, yeah, you read that correctly.
  • …See, my bets were on a huge T1 crash at the front, giving Ocon, Alonso, and Hamilton the lead.
  • …So, you know, I know things.
  • …About stuff.
  • …Anyway…
  • …Massa, Perez, Kvyat, Palmer, and Grosjean complete the top ten.
  • …And, Vettel, Bottas, Gutierrez, Verstappen, Ocon, Nasr, and Räikkönen remain.
  • …But, watch for ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.
  • …Remember that Magnussen obliterated his car in the midst of some pitting.
  • “It’s been a long dry spell for Alonso”, says NBCSN’s Bob Varsha.
  • …To which I respond…
  • …”Let’s moisten that up!  Yeah!  Moist!”
  • …Because, I’m a bad, disgusting person.
  • …Varsha, who, if you’ll recall, called F1 with David Hobbs and Steve Matchett at Speed, is filling in for Leigh Diffey today.
  • …Hobbs and Matchett handled P2 and Qualifying.
  • …But, Statler and Waldorf needed some adult supervision.
  • …Also, Diffey did not contract Zika while covering open water events at Rio.
  • …It’s just your standard gross bug.
  • …That is not Zika.
  • Kimi is furious.
  • …He’s radioing that Verstappen’s “…only interest is pushing me off track…”.
  • …”This is fucking ridiculous.”
  • …”Copy, copy; ridiculous.”
  • …For the record, I didn’t notice that “fucking” wasn’t bleeped.
  • …If you didn’t know, all it takes for the human brain to register a word are the first and last letters, and the middle can be jumbled.
  • …A bleep fills in the mental blank the same way.
  • …So, technically, bleeping is pointless.
  • …SCIENCE!
  • Palmer’s tires are overheating.
  • …He’s getting frustrated.
  • …There’s just a lot of shouting over the radio today.
  • …Yay to open radio!!!
  • Hamilton has passed The Incredible Hülkenberg for third.
  • At Lap 19…
  • …Rosberg, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Hülkenberg, and Alonso lead.
  • …Massa, Perez, Vettel, Bottas, and Kvyat round out the top ten.
  • …With Gutierrez, Grosjean, Räikkönen, Palmer, Nasr, Ocon, and Verstappen keeping an opportunistic eye on any potential carnage arising from the front.
  • …And, Wehrlein, Button, Sainz, Ericsson, and Magnussen sitting on the sidelines.
  • Contact between (former Lotus teammates) Grosjean and Räikkönen.
  • …But, it’s just a bad-touch wheel bump.
  • …And, they (both) mosey on.
  • …Though Kimi, in heightened paranoia, has radioed with tire concerns.
  • …Which Ferrari has put to rest.
  • Hamilton pits to relieve his tires of that not-so-fresh feeling.
  • …A little trouble at the rear.
  • …But, all appears okay in the end.
  • …He does emerge (from the pits) a bit behind the pack.
  • …Putting Mr Incredible (back) in third.
  • Five-second time penalty for Nasr.
  • …For leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
  • Hülkenberg and Alonso go wheel-to-wheel…
  • …In the pits.
  • …With neither ready to give in.
  • …So, they bump tires.
  • …Because, coliding is better than conceding and taking it to the track.
  • …But, no serious damage.
  • …They exit in standings order.
  • I think Sebsquatch is seeking revenge on Verstappen.
  • …For giving his F1 BFF, Kimi, such a ridiculously hard time.
  • …’Cause it’s a half past four and they’re shifting ge-ear.
  • …(It’s not.)
  • …They’re dancing.
  • …It’s fancy.
  • Rosberg pits.
  • …I mean, there’s no story there.
  • …It’s fine.
  • …He retains the lead upon exit.
  • Future Felipe!
  • …Massa’s dad, watching Perez’s mucho-aggressive pass on his son.
  • …The Massas (all) look alike.
  • …Felipe’s son is his twin.
  • …His dad is his future.
  • Renault just issued their official statement on the status of Magnussen (over Twitter).
  • …It was serious.
  • …So, my response was a very Peter Sellers/”Wang”/’Murder by Death’, “WHAT MEANING OF THIS?!”.
  • …Anyway, Magnussen went to the hospital for routine checks, and to treat a minor cut on his left ankle.
  • …But, he is (otherwise) fine.
  • …He’ll just be a bit sore for a bit.
  • At Lap 32…
  • …Rosberg, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Hülkenberg, and perez lead.
  • …Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Bottas, and Räikkönen round out the top ten.
  • …And, Gutierrez, Verstappen, Kvyat, Grosjean, Palmer, Ocon, and Nasr have no reason to stop believin’.
  • …So, hold on to that fee-li-i-i-in’.
  • Do you think any of the drivers have Technotronic earworms right now?
  • …Just say “yes”.
  • …Make my, make, make, make my day.
  • …Ma-ake my day.
  • …Prize to any team that radios, “Can’t you hear me, dammit; you’ve got to move, dammit!”.
  • …Bonus points for references to the likes of Plastic Bertrand or K’s Choice.
  • …It’s cool.
  • …And, for those 20,000 Verstappen pilgrims, I will accept any and all classic Bettie Serveert.
  • Oh, my god!
  • …I keep forgetting!
  • …Yes, Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jost Capito has (finally) moved his hugging party from the WRC, over to McLaren.
  • …I mean, bummer for the WRC.
  • …But, for those of us who don’t spend our free time, bitching about how inferior F1 is…
  • …The party rolls on.
  • …Do you think he hugged Button (after his retirement)?
  • …Do you think he’s let go (yet)?
  • …Just wait, Fernando, he’s got one for you, too!
  • …Anyhoo, so, to those rolling with both WRC and F1…
  • …Would you prefer Metric’s “The Shade” or The Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye”?
  • …Bygones.
  • Final lap…
  • Rosberg takes his first win at Belgium.
  • …Quietly, elusively.
  • Likewise, Ricciardo takes an uneventful second.
  • And, Hamilton takes his 21st-place start and turns it into bronze.
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg just misses his first F1 podium, but posts an impressive fourth.
  • And, he’s joined by his teammate, Perez, in fifth.
  • …Because, may the Force be with the front.
  • Sebsquatch Svettels for sixth.
  • …If you watch the replay, it will look like the Patterson film.
  • Alonso, no kiddie amateur, goes from 22nd to seventh.
  • Birthday boy Bottas takes eighth.
  • Räikkönen fails to expand his Belgian dominance, but retains it in ninth.
  • And, Massa takes the final point with a tenth-place finish for Williams.
  • Verstappen, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Kvyat, Palmer, Ocon, and Nasr don’t come away with any points.
  • …But, given the carnage, completion, with a lot of shining moments abound, is something to come away smiling from.
  • Podium time!
  • Hey!
  • It’s Mark Webber!
  • Who just celebrated his 40th birthday.
  • …Yes, only 40.
  • Do you think it’s Verstappen’s 20,000 fans who are booing?
  • …Rosberg thinks so.
  • …So, he’s acknowledged it, and reassured them that Verstappen has many years ahead of him, and his day will come.
  • …That was nice.
  • …As was acknowledging Hamilton, going from the back to the podium.
  • Oh, and Webber has just taken a swig from Ricciardo’s shoe.
  • …Go Australia?
  • Hamilton has joined Rosberg in reassuring the potentially angry mob that the teen may just win there one day.
  • Seriously, he’s 18, an F1 sophomore, and (already) triggering a Kristensen effect.
  • …If you’re not familiar with the term…
  • …Tom Kristensen’s Le Mans record was so stellar, he became a sort of god in his native Denmark.
  • …So, every Le Mans weekend, there was this mass exodus, leaving Denmark empty, and filling the stands and campgrounds with Danes.
  • Unfortunately, Verstappen’s disciples seem to enjoy being dicks.
  • …That’s a shame.
  • …Stop booing.
  • …It’s douchey.
  • …You’re douchey.
  • …No one likes you.
  • …Stupid bad apples.
  • Hey, so, you know how there has to be some discipline to learn?
  • …Verstappen is sure that his moves are legitimate, as he’s never been called on them.
  • …So, I’m going to agree 100% with the NBCSN boys…
  • …He’s going to keep pushing, until something happens.
  • …Then, it’ll be a case of “you never told me”.
  • I like that Kimi eases into speaking.
  • …Eases on into those run-on sentences.
  • …Broken up by “Peanuts”-like breaks for air.
  • …Kimi would like for people to not be “stupid”.
  • …Which was a theme for the weekend.
  • …Vettel called Magnussen an “idiot” in P3.
  • …Wehrlein called Gutierrez an “idiot” in P3 as well.
  • …I love that Kimi just walks off.
  • …As he just did.
  • …If he’s sitting, he’ll just end his run-on with abrupt silence.
  • Sebsquatch!
  • …Who has a lot to say about Verstappen’s strategy.
  • …Basically, everything I just stated above.
  • …Adding that it shouldn’t require investigations…
  • …That they’re not “in kindergarten”.
  • …And, doing some impressive impersonations of a kindergartener, bitching.
  • …Sebsquatch knows that the kids will moan.
  • …Sebsquatch knows that shit’s overblown.
  • …Sebsquatch.
  • …I’m just so glad that he reemerged from the forests for this.
  • …I’m not so stoked that it was just announced (last week) that Race of Champions will be held in Miami in January.
  • …And, that Sebsquatch has signed on.
  • …Because, I have this thing against Florida.
  • …My sister lives in Orlando.
  • …She and her husband take off to the beach whenever they can.
  • …I (still) won’t go.
  • …Clearly, I feel like I’m being tested with this announcement.
  • …My initial reaction was a verbal, to no one, “Goddammit!”.
  • …On a related note, however, if you’re not up on your bigfoot studies, there are variations in Florida.
  • …Such as the skunk ape.
  • …So, now, I understand.
  • …Bygones.
  • The Kimi quote that’s being heard around the world (right now) is…
  • …”If I have to brake from full speed not to hit him…something is not correct.”
  • …Look, Verstappen has natural talent.
  • …And, incredible drive to propel it.
  • …Teach him now, and he’ll have a truly amazing career ahead of him as a respected driver.
  • …He said it, himself.
  • …Unless he’s told otherwise, he has no reason to believe he’s doing anything wrong.
  • …He’s young, this is your chance to mould him.
  • …He’s a good kid who -wants- to learn to be his best.
  • …So, teach him.
  • …All anyone is asking is for a few tweaks to what he’s (already) got going for him.
  • …No one has called him a dick, or demanded punishment.
  • …Think about it for a second.
  • …Think back.
  • …Notice that they’ve (all) suggested intervening, from his teams and/or the Stewards, before it becomes a bad habit.
  • …Or, before someone gets hurt.
  • …Which has become a new revelation, as the behavior continues, and worsens.
  • …Let’s not (inadvertently) turn him into some sort of villain.
  • …And, make it worse by putting him into a position of having to (always) be on the verbal defense.
  • …Teach your children well, and all, F1.
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool.
  • And, yes, again, I did see what Sebsquatch did at T1.
  • …It was weird.
  • …He’s been weird for a while, now.
  • …Well before he was adopted by that nice bigfoot couple (over break).
  • …But, don’t all Ferrari drivers go a little mad sometimes?
  • …It’s perfectly Norman.
  • …Sorry…
  • …Normal.
  • …I meant “normal”.
  • Anyhoo…
  • Here are your Drivers’ Championship standings…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton – 232 / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg – 223
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo – 151 / Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – 128
  • …Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen – 124 / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – 115
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas – 62 / Force India’s Sergio Perez – 58
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg – 45 / Williams’ Felipe Massa – 39
  • …McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – 30 / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr – 30
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean – 28 / Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – 23
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button – 17 / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen – 6
  • …Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein – 1 / McLaren’s (Reserve) Stoffel Vandoorne – 1
  • …Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez – 0 / Renault’s Jolyon Palmer – 0
  • …Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson – 0 / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr – 0
  • …Manor’s Rio Haryanto – 0 / Manor’s Esteban Ocon – 0
  • And, here are your Constructors’ Championship standings…
  • …Mercedes – 455 / Red Bull – 274 / Ferrari – 252 / Force India – 103 / Williams – 101
  • …McLaren – 48 / Toro Rosso – 45 / Haas – 28 / Renault – 6 / Manor – 1 / Sauber – 0
  • So, that’s that for Belgium.
  • Next up…
  • …Monza!
  • …The Italian Grand Prix.
  • …And, Sebsquatch has (only) a few days to walk there.
  • …As it’s next frigging weekend.
  • …Yep.
  • …If you though the first half was a ride…
  • …Welcome to the second half crunch.
  • …And, it’s very crunchy, indeed.
  • So…
  • …Crank up that Golden Earring…
  • …Grab some waffles and fries…
  • …And, off you go!
  • See you next weekend!
  • (Better get that shit together, Ferrari – just saying – have a nice day!)