Category Archives: UNWANTED COMMENTARY

F 1 ★ 2 0 2 0 ★ HUNGARY – UNWANTED COMMENTARY



f o r m u l a   1   a r a m c o   m a g y a r   n a g y d í j   2 0 2 0

★ 1 7   –   1 9   j u l y ★



h u n g a r o r i n g


m o g y o r ó d ,   h u n g a r y


2.722mi / 4.381km ★

14 turns ★

clockwise ★

70 laps ★

190.531mi / 306.630km total ★



s t a r t i n g   g r i d

2019 results in parentheses /


#44 – lewis hamilton (gbr – england) – mercedes (1st) / #77 – valtteri bottas (fin) – mercedes (8th)

#18 – lance stroll (can) – racing point (17th) / #11 – sergio pérez (mex) – racing point (11th)

#5 – sebastian vettel (deu) – ferrari (3rd) / #16 – charles leclerc (mco) – ferrari (4th)

#33 – max verstappen (nld) – red bull (2nd) / #4 – lando norris (gbr – england) – mclaren (9th)

#55 – carlos sainz, jr. (esp) – mclaren (5th) / #10 – pierre gasly (fra) – alphatauri (6th)

#3 – daniel ricciardo (aus) – renault (14th) / #63 – george russell (gbr – england) – williams (16th)

#23 – alexander albon (tha) – red bull (10th) / #31 – esteban ocon (fra) – renault (n/a)

#6 – nicolas latifi (can) – williams (n/a) / #20 – kevin magnussen (dnk) – haas (13th)

#26 – daniil kvyat (rus) – alphatauri (15th) / #8 – romain grosjean (fra) – haas (dnf)

#99 – antonio giovinazzi (ita) – alfa romeo (18th) / #7 – k räikkönen (fin) – alfa romeo (7th)



  • Aaand, we have an off.
  • Yes, good morning.
  • Welcome to the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix.
  • No, the race hasn’t started.
  • But, we’ve got a wet track, a pre-grid lap, and a Verstappen in the wall.
  • And, now, Albon is radioing that the Red Bull is difficult to drive.
  • Verstappen qualified seventh, and Albon in 13th.
  • Just behind the Williams of George Russell.
  • So, the Red Bulls are not having fun at the Hungaroring.
  • Okay, while Red Bull tries to fix that car, we have the anthem.
  • Which is far-less metal than last week’s accordion rendition of the Austrian anthem.
  • YouTube it.
  • It will make sense.
  • For those keeping track, there wasn’t (really) time for anyone to take a knee.
  • Some did, but there was a bit of a shuffle before the anthem started.
  • Again, don’t put too much into it.
  • I (genuinely) believe the varying responses comes down to having a such a diverse grid.
  • I mean, not color-wise.
  • Shit, motorsport is white.
  • But, definitely, culturally.
  • There’s a lot of nurture, there.
  • Different nations, different cultures, different beliefs, different upbringings, different interpretations, and so on.
  • If anything, this represents the broader challenge.
  • How do you come together for something so huge, when you have so many variables?
  • It’s interesting.
  • Sports are a great uniter.
  • Let’s see what they can do.
  • And, again, for the record, I’m pro-knee.
  • But, I’m from the US, agnostic (at best), and think globally.
  • I’m just stoked that Hamilton is leading this, and that F1 is taking that lead.
  • And, hope the momentum continues.
  • Not just in general, but at full-speed, long enough for other sports to come back and join in.
  • (And, TV, movies, etc.  See how broad the implications of a pandemic are, anti-maskers?)
  • Okay, I’ve just gone ahead and posted the starting grid at the top.
  • Since there’s so much to discuss.
  • Weather-wise?
  • It is a cloudy 68F in Budapest.
  • The track is a bit west-northwest, but, about the same.
  • It has been raining.
  • But, the track is drying nicely.
  • Um…
  • A few teams are pre-race pitting for dry tires.
  • Okay.
  • Here we go!
  • So much spray!
  • Verstappen plows into third place!
  • Kimi has basted from 20th to 15th.
  • Latifi has gone from 15th to 10th.
  • Stroll is running in second.
  • Bottas, down in eighth.
  • After a possible jump start.
  • There’s just a lot of crazy going on.
  • And, now, at Lap 3, there’s a flurry of pitting.
  • Including Hamilton.
  • As does Stroll.
  • Which gives the lead to Verstappen.
  • Ricciardo is in second.
  • Followed by Ocon.
  • Ferrari has had a nightmare of a pitstop for Vettel.
  • Latifi spins.
  • He’s got some sort of damage.
  • Magnussen and Grosjean in third and fourth.
  • Because, sure.
  • This is (only) Lap 5.
  • It appears to just be a puncture for Latifi.
  • He drops to 20th.
  • Start infraction being investigated for Kimi.
  • Pitlane incident being investigated for Latifi and Sainz.
  • Hamilton and Verstappen return to the top two.
  • Followed by the Haas boys.
  • Why not?
  • Stroll passes Grosjean (for fourth).
  • Five-second time penalty for Räikkönen.
  • As we watch Bottas struggling to get by Leclerc.
  • Okay, replay of the Sainz / Latifi inceident.
  • Williams released Latifi right into Sainz.
  • That’s how he got the puncture.
  • It was (already) flapping as he was exiting.
  • It’s (always) fun when it’s not just the track action that’s bonkers.
  • Bottas passes Leclerc.
  • Just now, yes.
  • Magnussen is -still- in third.
  • Five-second penalty for Latifi.
  • For that unsafe release.
  • Which, does anyone (else) think that those penalties are a bit silly?
  • Like, I don’t know what the alternative is, but punishing drivers for team infractions feels wrong.
  • But, until a suitable alternative is implemented, here we are.
  • Bottas passes Grosjean (for fifth).
  • Of note: Verstappen is running 10 seconds behind Hamilton.
  • That’s ridiculous.
  • This is why people love the midfield.
  • There’s (usually) action there.
  • Norris started eighth.
  • He’s in 18th.
  • Which means that he’ll clinch a podium in the last lap.
  • His teammate, Sainz, is in 12th.
  • After starting ninth.
  • It’s a weird, chaotic race.
  • To put it lightly.
  • Leclerc passes Albon.
  • No issues.
  • As Leclerc is not powered by Mercedes.
  • Vettel is trying to get around Albon.
  • There is (absolute) craziness in the midfield.
  • Positions 7-12 are (all) within under one second of one another.
  • And, the Hungaroring is a nightmare for passing.
  • Albon passes Leclerc.
  • As the Ferraris fight each other.
  • Rule of thumb:
  • Mercedes crash into Albon, Ferraris crash into each other.
  • So, let’s not.
  • Up front, Stroll has beast-moded his way (back) into third.
  • Where he qualified.
  • He wanted that shit back.
  • Back to the colorful midfield conga line.
  • Pérez tries to get around Leclerc.
  • It didn’t work that time.
  • But, Leclerc has radioed that his tires are (absolutely) gone.
  • Aaannnddd, Ferrari has responded and is pitting him.
  • I would give a standings update, if anything were sticking.
  • At Lap 22, the top five has (somewhat) stabilized at Hamilton, Verstappen, Stroll, Bottas, and…
  • Magnussen.
  • Sure.
  • I support this.
  • Grosjean is just behind.
  • With Albon, lurking in their shadows.
  • Pérez is in ninth.
  • Which is a bit scary, as the Racing Point drivers are fighting to keep their seats.
  • Despite Pérez having a contract.
  • But, contract, schmontract, when Vettel’s on the market.
  • Did is mention Gasly’s exit?
  • He pitted in a cloud.
  • It was in the middle of the midfield battle.
  • Suddenly, Gasly was in the pits, his rear, BBQ-ing something nasty.
  • He took a new power unit (this weekend), by the way.
  • Over the track, there’s a stark split of blue sky and dark grey clouds.
  • So…which will it be?
  • As we watch Leclerc, trying to get around Norris.
  • For 14th.
  • Sorry, I was just checking radar.
  • Teams are getting updates that rain is coming.
  • I’m seeing a miss.
  • But, yesterday, there was a gap in every one of my radar apps under a tornado warning.
  • So, stop making people pay for well-functioning radar, weather apps.
  • Leclerc has -just- gotten around Norris.
  • Yes, after all that.
  • No contact.
  • Ricciardo passes Grosjean.
  • Grosjean is (now) in ninth.
  • After starting in 18th.
  • That’s just smart strategy.
  • Using harder compound tires to get a jump and keep going.
  • Drivers are reporting some sprinkles.
  • As confirmed by their onboard cameras.
  • We’re (only) halfway through this, by the way.
  • Stroll pits.
  • Losing third (to Bottas) in the process.
  • Magnussen pits.
  • He returns in eighth.
  • Verstappen pits.
  • And, retains second.
  • Fastest Lap to Bottas.
  • Most likely, trying to get ahead of Verstappen’s exit.
  • So, a bit of not for nothing, there.
  • After their first double Q2 in a billion-ish years, Williams has not been able to get into points position.
  • Which is fine.
  • It doesn’t take away from their incredible improvements.
  • At worst, it’s great data.
  • Pérez passes Magnussen (for ninth).
  • At Lap 40…
  • Hamilton, Verstappen, and Bottas are in podium position.
  • With Stroll and Ricciardo in the top five.
  • And, Sainz, Vettel, Albon, Pérez, and Magnussen are running in the points.
  • Sainz has pitted.
  • He’s returned in 11th.
  • Bumping everyone (within that) up one, and putting Leclerc in 10th.
  • Latifi is off.
  • He’s (back) on.
  • But, moving slowly, and staying out of the way.
  • ‘Twas a spin.
  • The Stewards will be having a chat with Red Bull (after the race).
  • Regarding drying the area ahead of Albons grid box (before the start).
  • While all eyes were on Verstappen’s car.
  • Naughty, naughty.
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • He re-enters in ninth.
  • Latifi is (still) moving, by the way.
  • Bottas just lapped him, so it was worth an update.
  • Albon is in sixth, by the way.
  • If you were wondering (as I mentioned him).
  • Bottas is less than a second from Verstappen.
  • Verstappen is over 21 seconds from Hamilton.
  • Because, sure.
  • Midfield, folks.
  • Two turntables and a microphone.
  • Verstappen has increased the gap (with Bottas).
  • Grosjean is radioing for a status report, wondering if everything is okay.
  • He’s (now) down in 11th.
  • Bottas pits.
  • For…hards.
  • So, longevity.
  • He re-enters where he left.
  • At Lap 50…
  • Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Stroll, and Vettel lead.
  • With Albon, Pérez, Ricciardo, Magnussen, and Leclerc in the top-ten.
  • Gasly remains the sole retirement.
  • Sainz is right on Leclerc.
  • His 2021 teammate.
  • Bottas sets Fastest Lap.
  • Stroll pits.
  • From fourth.
  • 2.8-second stop.
  • He retains his position.
  • Now, with new and improved tires!
  • “Fun” fact: cars 7-19 are running an entire lap behind.
  • That tends to be a sign of a bit of a boring race at the front.
  • Which, in this case, can be contributed to Hamilton’s lonely race.
  • 22.9 seconds ahead of Verstappen.
  • Is that even fun?  For Hamilton?  (Or, anyone in any race with that much of a lead.)
  • It’s impressive, and he’s (absolutely) doing his job, but it’s not racing.
  • Steiner is reporting having “good tension” (as he watches Magnussen, in 10th).
  • Hamilton has just lapped Albon and Vettel.
  • So, every car outside the top four is a lap behind.
  • Except Latifi.
  • Who is five laps behind.
  • There are amazing gaps.
  • Stroll is 39 seconds behind Bottas.
  • Then, it’s close-ish.
  • Then, Magnussen is 10-seconds behind Ricciardo.
  • With Leclerc, 10-seconds behind Magnussen.
  • And, so on.
  • So, there -are- battles.
  • It’s just…tiered.
  • Ten laps to go.
  • Eh, it’s not worth it.
  • Sainz has passed Leclerc (for 10th).
  • Tons of wheel-to-wheel between the 2021 teammates.
  • At Lap 63…
  • Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Stroll, and Vettel lead.
  • With Albon, Pérez, Ricciardo, Magnussen, and Sainz in the points.
  • Leclerc, Kvyat, Ocon, Norris, Grosjean, Räikkönen, Giovinazzi, Russell, and Latifi are (still) circling in the water.
  • Because, you never know.
  • This is F1.
  • It is so not over, sometimes even when it’s over.
  • Leclerc is radioing with balance issues.
  • The Ferrari is drunk.
  • Stress drinking.
  • Albon is within a second of Vettel.
  • For fifth.
  • There are (still) a lot of those battles, up and down the grid.
  • Mercedes is pitting Hamilton.
  • For a Fastest Lap run.
  • As he’s over 27-seconds ahead of Verstappen.
  • Albon passes Vettel.
  • Now, Pérez is within a second of Vettel (for sixth).
  • Because of that stop, Verstappen is (now) within 6-seconds of Hamilton.
  • But, I mean…new tires, Merc, running out of laps, etc.
  • Fastest Lap: Hamilton.
  • Magnussen has a 12.5-second lead on Sainz.
  • So, safely-ish in ninth.
  • The same goes for Sainz, with a 14-second lead on Leclerc.
  • Bottas is .5-second behind Verstappen.
  • But, fails to pass wth DRS.
  • As we approach the checkered flag.
  • Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas complete the podium.
  • Stroll, Albon, Vettel, Pérez, Ricciardo, Magnussen, and Sainz take home points.
  • And, Leclerc, Kvyat, Norris, Ocon, Grosjean, Räikkönen, Giovinazzi, Russell, and Latifi go home with valuable experience and data.
  • Yeah, that was fun.
  • Three races, three wacky rounds.
  • Let’s keep that going.
  • We do have some time penalties and post-race Stewards meetings.
  • But, you know, whatever.
  • It was a pretty fun race.
  • Hamilton is (now) within five wins of Schumacher’s record.
  • Which is history in the making.
  • Though, I’d love to see more racing from him.
  • He can do it.
  • He does get a bit flustered, but that’s a result of so many ridiculous lead gaps.
  • I mean, I’m just guessing that these guys love racing as much as the fans love seeing it.
  • If not more.
  • So, at this point, it’s a matter of cracking the Mercedes code.
  • “It was a pretty bad race, for me, obviously.” – Valtteri Bottas, Finn.
  • We -have- seen that (before), though.
  • Where a driver jumps the start, stops (reacting appropriately, but a bit startled by their own actions), and lose spots as a result.
  • It throws them off just enough.
  • Which is huge in sports.
  • I mean, for anyone, honestly.
  • Think about it, reflect, relive bad memories.
  • Otherwise known as core memories.
  • Hamilton had a decent look at Verstappen’s car.
  • Understandable.
  • Given what it went through (before the race even started).
  • But, it’s (always) interesting to see how curious drivers are.
  • It’s not about stealing ideas, or anything.
  • It’s a learning thing.
  • It’s nerdy, and I’m into it.
  • This podium is more of a podium.
  • It’s elevated.
  • The steps are (still) separated.
  • They’re wearing masks.
  • The trophies -were- handed to them (this time).
  • No trophy bots.
  • Drivers seem to be getting a little more comfortable with their boundaries.
  • A bit more champagne spraying, etc.
  • Drivers get tested every two days (for COVID-19, if you’re reading this in the distant future).
  • Their company is limited, the general rule being teams, staying within teams.
  • Their activities are socially distanced.  Lots of hiking and biking.
  • And, a few drivers (including Hamilton) are going a step further, and staying in their own RVs.
  • The only one I’ve (really) seen veering off if Bottas.
  • Who is traveling with his girlfriend, going back to Monaco between races, and so on.
  • Not to say he’s the only one.
  • But, he’s not been shy about it.
  • However, he is getting his tests done through it.  As is his girlfriend and trainer.
  • Fun with nasal swabs.
  • Have you seen those (or, had one)?
  • There’s a video of Pérez getting one.
  • You can feel it.
  • It’s great extra incentive to stay in your house when you can, and wear a mask when you can’t.
  • People are monsters (out there).
  • Sheesh.
  • I think, in general, F1 has done a pretty great job with setting an example.
  • The world is watching.
  • What you put out there matters.
  • Whether it seems important (or, not), or whether they like it (or, not), they are leading by example.
  • It’s standardizing and trend-setting.
  • Wear a mask.
  • You, too, can get an Arnold Schwarzenegger one (like Toto Wolff was sporting this weekend).
  • Toto Wolff, who is “Looking forward to the English weather”.
  • I mean, if it runs classically / stereotypically, teams are very much prepared.
  • We’ve had some dry seasons.
  • This one (really) is making up for lost time.
  • Hey, who did the music for these Sky F1 special segments (on Vettel and Hamilton)?
  • The Shins and Radiohead?
  • I’m jamming pretty hard, whoever you are.
  • I’ve been in classic rock comfort mode lately (yeah, no idea why), but favorites are favorites.
  • Okay, anyway…
  • Next up…
  • Britain.
  • Times two.
  • But, not before the first weekend off of the season.
  • You know, since half the season off.
  • The championship standings -have- been updated.
  • So, shall we?
  • The Drivers’ Championship…
  • …Hamilton – 63 / Bottas – 58 / Norris – 26
  • …Albon – 22 / Pérez – 22 / Leclerc – 18
  • …Stroll – 18 / Sainz – 14 / Vettel – 9
  • …Ricciardo – 8 / Gasly – 6 / Ocon – 4
  • …Magnussen – 2 / Giovinazzi – 2 / Kvyat – 1
  • …Räikkönen – 0 / Latifi – 0 / Grosjean – 0
  • …Russell – 0
  • The Constructors’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes – 121 / Red Bull – 55 / McLaren – 40
  • …Racing Point – 40 / Ferrari – 27 / Renault – 12
  • …AlphaTauri – 7 / Alfa Romeo – 2 / Haas – 2
  • …Williams – 0
  • It’s a weird situation.
  • Normally, there would be this grace period.
  • You know cars and drivers might take a few races (if not the first half of the season) to settle in.
  • Now, there’s this juggling of having those uncontrollable elements…
  • With an unknown season duration.
  • Around the world, COVID-19 cases are going (back) up.
  • This could (magically) fizzle out, and F1 could put together a full / semi-full calendar.
  • Or, this could come to a screeching halt tomorrow.
  • The world is in an unknown.
  • Plans are written in pencil with overwhelming hesitation.
  • So, whereas, usually, I would note that it’s early, there’s a whole season ahead, everyone just needs to find their groove, etc…
  • No one has any idea where this is going.
  • So, it’s not worth worrying about.
  • Obviously, as their job, everyone involved has to work under pressure.
  • But, honestly, everyone just needs to do their best.
  • And, as for fans, just enjoy the ride.
  • There are too many major things to worry about (right now).
  • You have zero control over this, so make it your happy place.
  • The rest of the world is a stanctuary, this is your sanctuary.
  • (If you didn’t get that, look it up.  Add “The Daily Show” to your search for extra enjoyment / horror.  Also, if American and so inclined, look up your local voting information.  If anywhere, look it up.  “Act locally, think globally.”  I was such a nerd, that was one of my favorite Brownie / Girl Scout badges.)
  • However, as of now, we will (optimistically) assume that F1 will be enjoying two weekends at Silverstone (in two-ish weeks).
  • And, that everyone will do their best, and enjoy doing it.
  • Also, that everyone involved will be very good girls and boys in that interim.
  • As will their fans.
  • Stay home when you can.
  • Wear a mask and distance yourself from others (when you can’t stay home).
  • Take care of yourselves.
  • Celebrate Christmas in July to the max.
  • Because, why not.
  • This year, we should do Festivus in July, too.
  • For obvious reasons.
  • A lot of people have a lot of problems with a lot of people.
  • No feats of strength, though.
  • Unless, it’s with those very close to you.
  • It’s not over ’til you pin your father.
  • A quick check for updates (before I go)…
  • Nope.
  • Nothing.
  • Hamilton -did- get Fastest Lap.
  • In his eighth Hungarian GP win, sure.
  • And, Verstappen -did- get Driver of the Day, though.
  • Also of note, two F1 personnel -did- test positive (for COVID-19) over the weekend.
  • Neither were with teams, and both were removed (immediately).
  • But, you know, it’s out there, and it doesn’t take much.
  • So, caution, caution, caution.
  • And, fingers crossed.
  • Also, Hungary had tightened lockdown, so everyone -had- to stay put.
  • Which is something to keep an eye on.
  • The lockdown degrees and travel restrictions are going to vary considerably.
  • And, those could be cancellation factors.
  • It’s where small world and big world collide.
  • Oh, and my radar -was- right, by the way.
  • It just skirted the track.
  • Hence, brief, scattered sprinkles.
  • I (still) want everyone to have access to high-quality, accurate radar, though.
  • With “future” mode.
  • If you look at a lot of (even great) weather apps (yeah, I have a bunch; I’m a storm nerd), they (only) offer “past” and “current” views.  Which, even taking unknowns into account, predictions are a little important.
  • Yesterday, when the most accurate of my “future” views was working, I could see a small, bright pink, spot form in the middle of dark red.  That is (potentially) tornadic.  That is useful.
  • Did you know that no one knows what makes tornadoes form?
  • No, really.
  • Meteorologists know the elements, but have no idea what the key trigger is.
  • It’s like the Underpants Gnomes (on “South Park”).
  • “Phase 1: Gather underpants / Phase 2: ? / Phase 3: Profit”
  • The same goes for hurricane rapid intensification (when lower-grade storms suddenly turn major).
  • Like (more recently) Hurricane Michael.
  • Which hit the Florida Panhandle with maximum force, when they were expecting so little, evacuations weren’t even mandatory.
  • Wind is mysterious, man.
  • -Cue your favorite wind-related song.-
  • Anyway…
  • Safety first.
  • (Yes, if you zoom enough, you can see the tracks on weather radar maps.  I zoomed until I saw the bust of Johnny Bravo.  The cartoon one, not the Greg Brady one.  I’ve been saying this for years, folks.  Am I wrong?)
  • So, be safe, be nice, be human, take breaks, take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.
  • “See you” at Silverstone.
  • (Fingers crossed.)

F 1 ★ 2 0 2 0 ★ AUSTRIA – UNWANTED COMMENTARY



f o r m u l a   1   r o l e x   g r o ß e r   p r e i s   v o n   ö s t e r r e i c h   2 0 2 0

★ 3 – 5   j u l y ★



r e d   b u l l   r i n g


s p i e l b e r g ,   a u s t r i a


★ 2.683mi / 4.318km

★ 10 turns

★ clockwise

★ 71 laps

★ 190.420mi / 306.452km



  • Well, hello.
  • I am guessing that it is -not- me you’re looking for.
  • But, here I am.
  • What can I say?
  • It’s 2020.
  • Terrible things happen.
  • Anyway…
  • It’s been, what, two-ish years (since I’ve done this)?
  • But, let’s give it a go, shall we?
  • Okay…
  • So…
  • This is the Austrian Grand Prix
  • Otherwise known as the Formula 1 Rolex Großer Preis von Österreich 2020.
  • (If you’re feeling fancy.)
  • Stop One on the ‘Rona-revised 2020 calendar.
  • And, part one of two (back-to-back) rounds at the Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring.
  • Okay, I’m going to toss out the starting grid (before I run out of time, here).
  • (Last year’s final result in parentheses.)
  • #77 – Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes (3rd) / #33 – Max Verstappen – Red Bull (1st)
  • #4 – Lando Norris – McLaren (6th) / #23 – Alex Albon – Red Bull (15th)
  • #44 – Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes* (5th) / #11 – Sergio Pérez – Racing Point (11th)
  • #16 – Charles Leclerc – Ferrari (2nd) / #55 – Carlos Sainz – McLaren (8th)
  • #18 – Lance Stroll – Racing Point (14th) / #3 – Daniel Ricciardo – Renault (12th)
  • #5 – Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari (4th) / #10 – Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri (7th)
  • #26 – Daniil Kvyat – AlphaTauri (17th) / #31 – Esteban Ocon – Renault (n/a)
  • #8 – Romain Grosjean – Haas (16th) / #20 – Kevin Magnussen – Haas (19th)
  • #63 – George Russell – Williams (18th) / #99 – Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo (10th)
  • #7 – Kimi Räikkönen – Alfa Romeo (9th) / #6 – Nicolas Latifi – Williams (n/a)
  • *Hamilton was love-tapped with a three-place penalty for failing to slow for a Yellow Flag (during Qualifying).
  • Here
  • We
  • Go
  • Bottas holds the lead.
  • Norris swings around Verstappen.
  • Verstappen regains.
  • Leclerc tries to get around Perez.
  • Nope.
  • At Lap 2. Mercedes is warning Bottas that he needs to look after his car.
  • At Lap 3…
  • Bottas, Verstappen, Albon lead.
  • With Norris right behind.
  • Hamilton has passed Norris.
  • I mean, as one would expect.
  • Mercedes v. McLaren.
  • That said…
  • Do remember that we (really) have no idea what to expect.
  • Pre-season testing was abbreviated (due to no major car alterations, and a long season).
  • Then, the Australian Grand Prix was called off before any practice sessions.
  • Which has been followed by months of locked-up headquarters and locked-down drivers.
  • So, realistically, this could have all the potential disasters one would expect from Australia.
  • …With, like, half the grid failing to finish (no joke, if you’re new to this).
  • Times a billion-ish.
  • Albon and Hamilton do a little dance.
  • Let’s not make a little love, kids.
  • That did not end well in Brazil.
  • Anyway, yeah, as weird as it is, being Austria in July, this is the magical, mysterious start of the season.
  • Verstappen has slowed!!!
  • He’s dropping!!!
  • Last year’s winner has dropped from second to 20th in second.
  • God, you can hear the thing, just grinding.
  • He’s pitting.
  • They’re swapping tires.
  • They’re working on it.
  • If anyone can turn this around, it’s Verstappen.
  • Nope.
  • They’re calling it.
  • The car’s just dead.
  • Verstappen’s out.
  • Lap 14.
  • At Red Bull’s home race.
  • If you couldn’t figure that one out.
  • But, as I was saying, this is the first race of the season.
  • Testing is thorough, but nothing can replicate real race conditions.
  • Especially, when the barely-tested, locked-up cars are being sent out in the summer heat.
  • Which is over 80F (right now).
  • Bringing the track temp to…magma.
  • Racing Point has informed Stroll that there -is- an engine problem.
  • And, Ricciardo is joining the sketchy engine club.
  • That Renault is grinding hard.
  • Vettel passes Stroll.
  • The multi-World Champion in the Ferrari has passed the kid in the Racing Point.
  • If you were wondering how Ferrari were doing.
  • The Alfa Romeos battle a bit.
  • A bit.
  • Kimi takes that lead.
  • Renault has retired Ricciardo.
  • So, that’s two down.
  • At Lap 20…
  • …Bottas, Hamilton, Albon, Norris, and Perez lead.
  • Grosjean is dragging along.
  • Racing Point has retired Stroll.
  • Bringing that number to three.
  • Grosjean pits.
  • After his little solo spin.
  • There’s a focus on the Magnussen-Ocon battle (for 11th).
  • In which the Dane leads.
  • Remember that Ocon sat 2019 out.
  • So, it’s been a VERY long time since he’s done this.
  • But, he seems to be doing well.
  • Shot of Ricciardo, in the garage, watching the action.
  • Mask on.
  • The new norm.
  • These races are being held with no fans, minimal media, and skeleton crews.
  • Social distancing is being enforced when possible.
  • Obviously, there are a lot of situations in which they can’t.
  • But, for things like interviews, they’re busting out rope barriers and extended mics.
  • And, masks are required.
  • When not in a helmet.
  • Which Latifi referred to as a “very expensive mask”.
  • Magnussen has gone off.
  • He was battling Ocon…
  • …But, nothing even near contact.
  • He just flew off.
  • Like his brakes went out, or something.
  • Something fast and terminal.
  • He’s fine, the car’s just stopped past the gravel.
  • Safety Car.
  • Pitting frenzy.
  • Ooo!!!
  • Perez was released into Norris!!!
  • No contact.
  • Perez controlled it.
  • He stayed alongside Norris, but didn’t fight him for first exit.
  • But, wow; way to give some hearts a workout.
  • Confirmed: brake failure (for Magnussen).
  • At Lap 29/71…
  • …Under a Safety Car…
  • …Bottas, Hamilton, Albon, Norris, and Perez lead.
  • …Followed by Leclerc, Sainz, Vettel, Gasly, and Kvyat,
  • Outside the points are Ocon, Giovinazzi, Russell, Räikkönen, Grosjean, and Latifi.
  • Latifi being in the lead for 2020’s Rookie of the Year.
  • Being the only one (this year).
  • It was cooling issues for Ricciardo’s Renault, by the way.
  • Safety Car, in.
  • Leclerc and Sainz do some wheel-to-wheel.
  • Oh!
  • Vettel gets caught in it!
  • Vettel spins!
  • I mean, it wouldn’t be a race without a Vettel spin, but…yeah.
  • In case you missed it…
  • Ferrari dropped Vettel (for 2021).
  • And, signed Sainz.
  • A few days ago, Vettel called Ferrari out on their bullshit story of extensive talks.
  • There were none.
  • They fired him with a single phone call.
  • Which should come to no surprise to anyone.
  • Except, you know, Ferrari fans.
  • So, Vettel doesn’t have a seat (for next year).
  • Sainz will partner Leclerc.
  • And, at McLaren, Ricciardo will be partnering with Norris.
  • On the matter of Sainz…
  • I think it’s a mistake.
  • Ferrari needs a willingly submissive driver.
  • They should have gone with Giovinazzi.
  • Who is in a career position in which that would be acceptable.
  • Or, brought Hülkenberg back.
  • As the Hulk would be crazy-reliable, and chill in a position like that.
  • I just hope notorious Ferrari toxicity doesn’t wreck Sainz.
  • He’s too good, and on his way up.
  • And, had serious vibe issues at both Toro Rosso and Renault.
  • Speaking of Renault and vibe issues…Ricciardo.
  • It just never worked out.
  • Not for lack of trying.
  • Not for lack of anything, really.
  • Except, you know, performance.
  • It just never worked.
  • So, to McLaren he goes.
  • Which has promise.
  • Gone are the days of shitting on drivers for having fun.
  • Now, McLaren -wants- their drivers to enjoy themselves.
  • Anyway, to the present.
  • Everyone continues to put pressure on everyone.
  • Norris has been instructed to just push.
  • On the flip-side, Bottas has been informed that this car is falling apart.
  • Mechanically speaking.
  • With his teammate right on him.
  • Ooo, both Mercs have been instructed to avoid the curbs.
  • Sensor issues.
  • So, we’ve got pressure, pressure everywhere.
  • And, the Mercs are disintegrating.
  • Which is interesting.
  • Especially, as Hamilton keeps setting the fastest lap.
  • I mean, that’s not, exactly, taking it easy.
  • But, what can you do?
  • Hamilton is on Bottas.
  • Albon is on Hamilton.
  • Everyone is on everyone.
  • Except Latifi.
  • Who’s just trying to get a feel for things, and survive his first F1 race.
  • Speaking of Williams, though…
  • They are looking for a buyer.
  • During lockdown, they broke-up with their primary sponsor (Rokit).
  • And, announced that they are for sale.
  • Which is huge, as Williams has always been, well, Williams.
  • Priding themselves on near-full independence.
  • Sans the Merc power, etc.
  • But, the last few seasons have been rough, so here we are.
  • Sitting in 13th (Russell) and 16th (Latifi), out of 16, at the moment.
  • Both Mercs are being warned that the gearbox issue is “critical”.
  • And, being instructed to stay off the curbs.
  • Bottas has just been told, “We are in worse shape than the other car.”.
  • At Lap 47/48.
  • I mean, they’ve extended their lead by, like, 10 seconds.
  • But, that time can disappear quicker than snacks in front of a TV.
  • Kvyat and Ocon go at it.
  • For ninth.
  • Grosjean is off.
  • Way off.
  • Like, he’s made his own track.
  • Okay, he’s rejoined.
  • Oh, come the fuck on!!!
  • Russell’s car is slowing.
  • His teammate has passed him.
  • He’s stopped.
  • Trackside.
  • He couldn’t even get it to a safe spot.
  • Safety Car.
  • Replay of Grosjean…
  • …Looks like a replay of Magnussen’s off.
  • Again, like the brakes just blew.
  • Well, that’s weird.
  • And, yet, always a possibility (when one car goes).
  • Man, Haas has the worst luck with braking systems.
  • Grosjean -has- made it to the pits, though.
  • Slowly and safely.
  • But, terminally.
  • So, that is Verstappen, Ricciardo, Stroll, Magnussen, Grosjean, and Russell, out.
  • At Lap 53.
  • Of 71.
  • Bottas, Hamilton, Perez, Albon, and Norris lead.
  • With Leclerc, Gasly, Ocon, Sainz, and Giovinazzi in the points.
  • And, Kvyat, Räikkönen, Vettel, and Latifi (still) running.
  • Safety Car, in.
  • Safety Car, out.
  • What the fuck?
  • Oh, it’s Kimi!
  • In a…wall?
  • Oh!!!
  • His front-right tire flew off!!!
  • How?!!!
  • Those things are tethered to the car.
  • Holy shit, that thing flew off, hit one side of the track, bounced off, and hit the other side!
  • Wow.
  • Fortunately, it missed (both) Vettel and Latifi.
  • And, as it flew up (first), didn’t hit Kimi.
  • Who is walking back to the garage.
  • As he does.
  • Kimi never pisses around.
  • That’s why there are so many iconic Kimi-walking-off moments.
  • So, Car #7 is the seventh retirement.
  • At Lap 58.
  • Which requires no standings update.
  • Given the lack of time between Safety Cars.
  • 13 remain.
  • 10 will get points.
  • I -hate- when that happens.
  • There have been races in which 11 have finished.
  • It’s horrible.
  • Oh, Albon -did- get around Perez -just- before the Yellow Flag.
  • So, that -did- change.
  • Safety Car, in.
  • But, you know, for how long?
  • Did I not note that, (weird as it feels) this -is- the first race of the season, and there could be major bugs to work out?
  • The thing that sucks is that there may not be many opportunities for redemption.
  • Right now, there are 8 rounds scheduled (on the revised calendar).
  • Factor in the fact that this pandemic isn’t anywhere near over.
  • And, you just have a whole lot of uncertainty.
  • In which, as Depeche Mode said, “everything counts in large amounts”.
  • But, there’s nothing anyone can do, other than their best.
  • Albon and Hamilton go wheel-to-wheel!!!
  • Albon passes!!!
  • NOOO!!!
  • AGAIN!!!
  • Love tap!!!
  • Hamilton tapped Albon, and Albon spun.
  • Yes, just like Brazil.
  • Oh, my god, guys.
  • Okay, now Hamilton is getting radio after radio about the state of his car.
  • So, Albon goes down to 13th.
  • And, Hamilton’s car is expiring fast.
  • Leclerc on Norris.
  • The Ferrari finds some power and passes the McLaren.
  • Bottas, Hamilton, Perez, Leclerc, and Norris lead (at Lap 65).
  • Albon makes up one place.
  • Passing Latifi.
  • Five-second penalty for Hamilton.
  • The same as in Brazil.
  • Leclerc passes Perez.
  • Sainz gets right on his teammate.
  • But, Norris isn’t interested in anyone else passing him.
  • Five-second penalty for Perez.
  • For the pitlane incident.
  • Albon is (majorly) slowing.
  • And, he’s off.
  • Norris passes Perez.
  • Norris is just over this crap.
  • Ooo, there was a little love tap in that overtake.
  • Norris had the inside, Perez turned in a little too aggressively.
  • Kvyat is off!
  • Aw, shit.
  • That leaves…
  • …11.
  • Fucking 11.
  • Anyway, Kvyat’s incident was a massive puncture.
  • Final lap.
  • Bottas wins.
  • Hamilton, Leclerc, and Norris follow.
  • Oh, my god!!!
  • The Hamilton penalty!!!
  • Norris is within five seconds!!!
  • Norris is on the podium!!!!!!!
  • First podium!!!
  • First fucking podium!!!
  • McLaren is losing it!!!
  • Fortunately, the team who kicked off the F1 Coronavirus spread has been extreme in preventative measures.
  • Because, there’s a lot of hugging.
  • Jeez, it’s like Zac Brown has been locked in a dark cage for years.
  • And, Norris took out the third position marker.
  • Which is fine.
  • It’s his first time.
  • And, another unorthodox podium for McLaren.
  • Okay, so, this podium…
  • Isn’t really.
  • Rather than the usual holding room, there are little tables (with their caps, water, etc.) in front of each parked car.
  • The interviews are at the recommended (6+ft) distance.
  • With masks on.
  • Jenson Button, conducting the interviews, telling Norris that he wants to hug him, but he can’t.
  • Button’s fiancée is pregnant with their second, so I suspect he’s got some extra diligence on his mind.
  • Button, now calling the LA area home.
  • Not a great place to be right now.
  • So much so, that I wouldn’t hold my breath for a USGP this year.
  • To those outside the US…it’s…interesting.
  • A great way to lose total faith in humanity.
  • Anyway…
  • The podium, itself, is four little, separate steps, set up on the track.
  • Yes, four; a representative from the winning team (still) gets to go up.
  • Champagne, sitting on each step.
  • Everyone, still masked, as the anthems play.
  • They -are- being handed the trophies.
  • But, sans the usual formalities and such.
  • There’s a bit of confusion as the music plays.
  • But, the drivers -did- decide to spray the champagne.
  • And, they -did- have a photo taken together.
  • Which was awkward.
  • Like, they’re not sure what to do.
  • What’s okay, what’s expected, what’s safe, what’s comfortable, and so on.
  • Which is fine.  It’s a weird situation.  We’re (all) just rolling with this.
  • The drivers stood close enough to hold-up an ‘End Racism’ t-shirt.
  • Which the drivers have been wearing, as they promote their ‘Race Together’ initiative.
  • Along with taking a knee before the race, and other moves to try to use their publicity for a greater good.
  • It should be noted that, in the spirit of representation, Mercedes sent Bottas’ performance engineer (I believe / hope that’s correct), Holly Chapman, up to collect the Constructors’ trophy.
  • Formula 1 (I mean, honestly, motorsports in general) is dominated by white European dudes.
  • So…this is going to take some time.
  • But, they moved fast, making it a focus.
  • Which is important.
  • Gosh, there’s just so much to cover, here.
  • The world has changed.
  • And, with it, F1.
  • So, I guess I’ll just leave it here and, like with everything else, just go with the flow.
  • I mean, it’s (only) a matter of days before round two starts.
  • Which will be a do-over of sorts.
  • But, with a different name.
  • Which I have to look up.
  • Okay, it’ll be theeeeeee…Formula 1 Pirelli Großer Preis Der Steiermark 2020.
  • Or, you know, the Austrian Grand Prix, Pt. 2.
  • As for Pt. 1…
  • Bottas, Leclerc, and Norris made the podium.
  • With Hamilton, Sainz, Perez, Gasly, Ocon, Giovinazzi, and Vettel taking points.
  • And, Latifi completing his first F1 race, trouble-free.
  • Norris scored the Fastest Lap Award.
  • Giving him an extra point.
  • While Verstappen, Ricciardo, Stroll, Magnussen, Grosjean, Russell, Räikkönen, Albon, and Kvyat will get a shot at some redemption (next weekend).
  • After one race, the Drivers’ Championship looks like this:
  • …Bottas – 25 / Leclerc – 18 / Norris – 16 / Hamilton – 12 / Sainz – 10
  • …Perez – 8 / Gasly – 6 / Ocon – 4 / Giovinazzi – 2 / Vettel – 1
  • With the Constructors’ Championship rolling like this:
  • …Mercedes – 37 / McLaren – 26 / Ferrari – 19 / Racing Point – 8
  • …AlphaTauri – 6 / Renault – 4 / Alfa Romeo – 2
  • Okay, I think that’s it.
  • For now.
  • There was something I was going to mention, but I can’t remember what it was.
  • Same place, same time, next week.
  • If the forecast stands, it’s set to be stormy and a bit chilly (like, low 60sF).
  • Which could make for a continuation of the interesting show we saw today.
  • Stay home, watch F1.
  • If you have to go out, wear a fucking mask.
  • They’re horrible, but an ongoing killer pandemic is worse.
  • Among a massive number of reasons as to why, know that, if this goes on, Williams will never get another point.
  • Never.
  • Ever.
  • Mask-up for Williams.
  • I can’t work from home, so I’ll be back next weekend – if I (actually, literally) survive the week.
  • Fun game.
  • Wear a mask.
  • I want to see Russell get a point.

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF AZERBAIJAN (23.6.2017 – 25.6.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Hey…
  • …Why don’t we just move over…
  • …Rover…
  • …And let F1 take over?
  • Welcome to the City of Wind…
  • …In The Land of Fire.
  • …No word on Earth.
  • …Bygones.
  • It’s the Azerbaijan Grand Prix…
  • …In Baku…
  • …Which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea…
  • …92 feet below sea level.
  • …Making it the only national capital below sea level.
  • …And, the largest city below sea level.
  • …With (about) 2.1 million metro inhabitants.
  • …In a nation of 9.8-ish million.
  • …So, you are watching (approximately) 25 percent of the population today.
  • …On NBCSN (if you’re in the US).
  • Anyway…
  • …”The Speed is Higher in the Land of Fire”.
  • Also…
  • …I fucked up my timing.
  • …Cars are rolling out.
  • …And, I’ve got nothing.
  • So, full disclosure, before I publish this, I’ll be going back and adding any critical information I could have been noting right now.
  • Uuuhhh…
  • …Hamilton has done a (now-classic) stop/reverse.
  • …(That we’ve seen most of the grid do many times this weekend.)
  • …On the recce lap, yes.
  • …Welcome to Baku, kids.
  • Speaking of…
  • Baku City Circuit…
  • …Which, as you may have guessed from the name, is a street circuit.
  • …Meaning, it’s tight, with all the lumps and bumps you get on the very same streets you drive.
  • …It is 3.730mi (6.003km) in length.
  • …With 20 turns.
  • …Run counterclockwise.
  • …Giving it the shape of a spilled bottle of La Roche-Posay sunscreen.
  • …With a Jekyll and Hyde personality.
  • …With one VERY tight half, reminiscent of Monaco.
  • …And, one very open, fast half, much like Monza.
  • …How’s that for contrast?
  • …Anyway…
  • …Being such a long circuit, (only) 51 laps scheduled today.
  • …Putting the goal total distance to (the pretty standard, if you haven’t noticed) 190.170mi (306.049km).
  • …And, as usual, if you’re wondering about that wording…
  • …Anything can happen in an F1 grand prix.
  • …And, most of it will.
  • …Remember, the cars and tires are significantly wider than they were for last year’s inaugural race.
  • …While the track limits, being a city circuit, haven’t budged.
  • Speaking of tires…
  • …Remember, every race, there are three options available for teams.
  • …Two of which must be used.
  • …Today’s options are the red Supersofts, the yellow Softs, and the white Mediums.
  • …With green Intermediates and blue Rains (always) available.
  • But, on the subject of rain…
  • …There (more than likely) won’t be any.
  • …It’s sunny and 81ºF (in Baku).
  • …With a track temperature of (I believe I heard) 130-ish degrees (Fahrenheit).
  • …Even in F1, with it’s scorching summer track temperatures, I would classify today as “dangerous”.
  • …Expect overheating of the mechanical AND human variety.
  • Currently, the Drivers’ Championship standings look like this:
  • …Vettel – 141 / Hamilton – 129 / Bottas – 93 / Räikkönen – 73
  • …Ricciardo – 67 / Verstappen – 45 / Perez – 44 / Ocon – 27
  • …Sainz – 25 / Massa – 20 / Hülkenberg – 18 / Grosjean – 10
  • …Magnussen – 5 / Wehrlein – 4 / Kvyat – 4 / Stroll – 2
  • …Palmer – 0 / Ericsson – 0 / Alonso – 0 / Vandoorne – 0
  • …Giovinazzi – 0 / Button – 0
  • And, at the moment, the Constructors’ Championship looks like this:
  • …Mercedes – 222 / Ferrari – 214 / Red Bull – 112 / Force India – 71
  • …Toro Rosso – 29 / Williams – 22 / Renault – 18 / Haas – 15
  • …Sauber – 4 / McLaren – 0
  • Last year…
  • …It was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg on top.
  • …Who was joined on the podium by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
  • …And, Force India’s Sergio Perez.
  • This year, the starting grid looks like this:
  • …(With 2016 results in parentheses.)
  • …#44 – Lewis Hamilton – GBR – Mercedes (5) / #77 – Valtteri Bottas – FIN – Mercedes (6/Williams)
  • …#7 – Kimi Räikkönen – FIN – Ferrari (4) / #5 – Sebastian Vettel – DEU – Ferrari (2)
  • …#33 – Max Verstappen – NLD – Red Bull (8) / #11 – Sergio Perez – MEX – Force India (3)
  • …#31 – Esteban Ocon – FRA – Force India (N/A) / #18 – Lance Stroll – CAN – Williams (N/A)
  • …#19 – Felipe Massa – BRA – Williams (10) / #3 – Daniel Ricciardo – AUS – Red Bull (7)
  • …#26 – Daniil Kvyat – RUS – Toro Rosso (DNF) / #20 – Kevin Magnussen – DNK – Haas (14/Renault)
  • …#27 – Nico Hülkenberg – DEU – Renault (9/Force India) / #94 – Pascal Wehrlein – DEU – Sauber (DNF/Manor)
  • …#55 – Carlos Sainz, Jr. – ESP – Toro Rosso (DNF)* / #8 – Romain Grosjean – FRA – Haas (13)
  • …#9 – Marcus Ericsson – SWE – Sauber (17) / #2 – Stoffel Vandoorne – BEL – McLaren (N/A)**
  • …#14 – Fernando Alonso – ESP – McLaren (DNF)*** / #30 – Jolyon Palmer – GBR – Renault (15)****
  • …*Sainz qualified 12th, but will serve a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision (at Canada)
  • …**Vandoorne qualified 19th, and is serving a 35-place grid penalty***** for a gearbox change and using new power unit components.
  • …***Alonso qualified 16th, and is serving a 40-place grid penalty***** for using new power unit components.
  • …****Palmer missed Qualifying, following a car fire in P3, and will start from the back.
  • …*****Yes, we’re (still) using those ridiculous penalty numbers.
  • Oh, and Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn will not be participating.
  • …Today, or in the foreseeable future.
  • …She and the team have “parted ways”.
  • …There is a hell of a lot of talk about what happened.
  • …And, strangely, it’s (all) the same.
  • …Anyway, if there’s any truth to any of it, I can see the issue.
  • …I’m sure mansplaining how F1 works to a crazily-educated, experienced corporate attorney who has been working her way up the company ladder for (nearly) two decades, picking the threads of every rope to learn along the way, is tremendously taxing and a huge distraction to achieving corporate goals.
  • …Yep.
  • …By the way, I would just like to put out a reminder that, with Claire Williams’ due date coming this October, it’s never too early to start fashioning those “no girlz allowed” signs, F1.
  • …Anyway, run the ‘In Memoriam’ reel of scrunchies and white sneakers…
  • …Ending with slow-motion footage of her cheerily swinging Wellies, in the Austin rain.
  • HERE WE GO!!!
  • Carnage!!!
  • Sainz spins!
  • Bottas and Räikkönen hit!
  • Clouds of damage and debris…
  • …But, everyone is (still) moving!
  • Bottas has made it to the pits.
  • …After a very long, slow, flappy drive around the circuit.
  • Verstappen radios with possible damage from debris.
  • …Red Bull radios that they’ve been monitoring it.
  • The stewards are investigating the Bottas/Räikkönen incident.
  • Kimi radios with a wonky rear.
  • …He hasn’t pitted since that being pushed into the wall.
  • Hamilton radios to check up on his teammate.
  • …It’s a slightly different dynamic from the Hamilton/Rosberg days.
  • On replay…
  • …There was plenty of room between the reentering Kvyat and Sainz.
  • …I think Sainz is just having issues like Grosjean had a few years ago.
  • …A little tunnel vision, with a touch of overreaction.
  • …Recall that Grosjean -has- suggested that Sainz take a time out, as he had to do.
  • …And, I agree.
  • …He’s a spectacular driver.
  • …But, he’s having issues.
  • …Let’s fix them, before they start to turn into bad habits, and misrepresent his capabilities.
  • Wow…
  • …Kimi’s radio (after the Bottas incident) was delightful.
  • …They have issues.
  • Palmer radios, “Smoke out the back”.
  • …Remember, his engine caught fire at the start of P3, causing him to miss Qualifying.
  • …Oh…yeah…he’s being directed to stop.
  • …So, armchair critics…
  • …How will you be pinning this on his driving abilities?
  • Grosjean radios with a very calm request…
  • …That his team radios if the brakes start to become dangerous.
  • …As they’re starting to feel wonky.
  • …This is a year and a half of brake issues for Haas.
  • …And, at a tight street circuit, with 20 turns…
  • …Well, it’s asking a lot.
  • Kvyat has stopped on track.
  • …The wheels of his Toro Rosso are experiencing some cloud cover.
  • …It’s a brutal circuit in brutal heat.
  • …This is just the start.
  • Just a reminder…
  • …Azerbaijan -is- “The Land of Fire”.
  • Verstappen radios with engine issues.
  • …They’ve retired him.
  • …Another engine failure for Red Bull.
  • We -are- under a Safety Car period.
  • …As Kvyat’s car remains stranded on track.
  • Box, box, box…
  • …And, box, box, box…
  • …And, box, box, box.
  • …A flurry of tire swaps during the Safety Car parade.
  • At Lap 15…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Perez, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …With Massa, Ocon, Stroll, Hülkenberg, Magnussen, and Ricciardo in the top ten.
  • …And, Alonso, Sainz, Vandoorne, Ericsson, Grosjean, Wehrlein, and Bottas (still) running.
  • …As Palmer, Kvyat, and Verstappen remain very much out.
  • Alonso has spend a good deal of time, full-on racing both Saubers.
  • …If you wanted a bizarre sentence to wrap your melon around.
  • …Just a reminder, Sauber is moving to Honda power (next year).
  • …So, guys, this could be your future.
  • Green light, go!
  • Force India is NOT fucking around!
  • …They’re flat-out taking on the Ferraris!
  • …Both Force Indias, both Ferraris!
  • Wait…
  • …Why is Safety Car being called (again)?
  • …Debris.
  • …Ferrari debris.
  • …Kimi’s trail of terror.
  • …Cars are being redirected through the pitlane.
  • …Anyway, now’s a solid time for a potty break.
  • …-shrugs-
  • What a fascinating non-race!
  • …Which will continue to get more fascinating…
  • …With a strong potential for even more non-action.
  • …As cars heat up, and tires cool down.
  • Vettel hit Hamilton!!!
  • …Under the Safety Car!!!
  • …He rear-ended him!!!
  • …Now, he’s pulled up alongside him, and is waving his hands!!!
  • …What the fucking fuck!!!
  • Green light!
  • Again!
  • …Force India!
  • …Oh!
  • …They’ve hit each other!!!
  • …Perez just slammed Ocon into the wall!!!
  • Shit from Vettel’s car just flew off!
  • What the fuck happened to Kimi’s car?!
  • …His rear-right is flapping.
  • …He’s radioed that it was debris.
  • Perez pits.
  • …They retire his car.
  • Kimi makes it to the pits.
  • …They pull him in.
  • Jesus fucking Christ.
  • Oh, there’s a Safety Car, by the way.
  • …With debris all over the goddamn track.
  • So…uh…at Lap 22 (of 51) (yeah, 51)…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Massa, and Stroll lead.
  • …Take your time, read that (again), if you need to.
  • …With Ricciardo, Hülkenberg, Magnussen, Alonso, Sainz, and Grosjean in the top ten.
  • …And, Ericsson, Vandoorne, Bottas, Ocon, and Wehrlein (still) very much in it.
  • …Potentially, to win it.
  • Alonso made a call to call a Red Flag…
  • …That it’s too dangerous to race with that much debris blowing around.
  • And, a Red Flag has been called.
  • …The Safety Car is leading all cars to the pits.
  • …While the circuit goes ‘Mommie Dearest’ on the surface.
  • …SCRUB!!!
  • …DOES THAT LOOK CLEAN TO YOU?!!!
  • …SCRUB!!!
  • Uuuhhh…
  • …We’re seeing replays of the Vettel/Hamilton incident…
  • …Vettel not only rear-ended Hamilton…
  • …After Hamilton slowed down…
  • ..And, not only pulled-up, alongside Hamilton…
  • …He (very blatantly) ran his front into Hamilton’s front.
  • …That…
  • …Is called “road rage”.
  • …Every angle is horrific.
  • …My opinion?
  • …They should both be penalized.
  • …And, Vettel should be hauled in to chat with the Stewards, his bosses, and everyone else…
  • …Their mothers, etc…
  • …AND, slapped with license penalty ticks.
  • …That was so unapologetically vicious.
  • …Wow.
  • Okay…
  • …Well…
  • …On a lighter note…
  • …Ocon’s car appears to be okay.
  • …And, they think they might be able to get Perez’s car (back) out.
  • Hamilton and Vettel are not chatting.
  • …Which is for the best.
  • …Just soundtrack it, ‘Kill Bill’ style.
  • There’s Magnussen, just looking around…
  • …He hasn’t done a thing wrong (today)…
  • …Just wondering, “What the fuck?”.
  • Perez is good to go.
  • …He’ll be way behind.
  • …Like, two laps.
  • …But, he gets to continue.
  • Okay, so, the Hamilton/Vettel incident…
  • …There’s an issue with what Hamilton was doing.
  • …Because, he had been instructed, very clearly, to make sure he maintains a 10-car distance from the Safety Car.
  • …Which would explain the slowing.
  • …Which is, honestly, and you know that I’m not on the letting Hamilton get away with shit train, what I saw.
  • …I saw Vettel rear-end him.
  • …Then go into full road rage mode.
  • …So, this will be interesting.
  • …So long as very strict precedent on this kind of bad behavior is set.
  • By the way, like Force India, Ferrari was able to bring Kimi’s car (back) to life.
  • …So, like Perez, he’ll be way behind.
  • …But, he’ll be in it.
  • …And, who knows.
  • …At this rate, they could end up on the podium.
  • …Jesus, what a race.
  • Ricciardo passes BOTH Williams!
  • …In one move!!!
  • Stroll passes Massa!
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg surges ahead!
  • Tons of action…
  • …With no incidents!
  • …Everyone’s sick of the bullshit.
  • Massa continues to drop.
  • …His car is not right.
  • Magnussen has zipped up to fifth!
  • Massa radios with his issues.
  • …Williams informs him that he has a broken rear damper.
  • Hülkenberg has problems.
  • …He’s pulled into the escape road.
  • So, after all that excitement…
  • …Massa and Hülkenberg are out.
  • Hülkenberg’s car was damaged by contact with the wall.
  • …In the passing frenzy.
  • Cars 7 and 11 are under investigation for working on their cars outside the fast lane…
  • …Blah, blah, blah…
  • …If there was an issue with it, they had plenty of time to halt it.
  • …Let’s focus on actual issues.
  • …The Hamilton/Vettel road rage incident would be a cool place to start.
  • Shots of Hamilton’s front-left.
  • …Joined by shots of the Mercedes mechanics, pointing at the feed, and putting their gear on.
  • …So…what’s up, there?
  • …Now, they’re radioing him, that his headrest is a bit loose…
  • …And, could he try to adjust it?
  • …What an interesting race.
  • …I did mention that anything could happen, and that most of it would, right?
  • …(Now, they’re suggesting that he give it a knock with his head.)
  • …(Which sounds like a rad idea…while racing.)
  • At Lap 31…
  • …Under a setting sun…
  • …On a heavily treed, downtown circuit…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, and Stroll lead.
  • …With Magnussen, Alonso, Ocon, Bottas, Sainz, and Grosjean in the top ten.
  • …And, Vandoorne, Ericsson, Wehrlein, Perez, and Räikkönen (still) in it to win it.
  • …Because…yeah.
  • Hamilton is called to box.
  • …To fix his shit.
  • 10-second stop/go penalty for Vettel.
  • …”Dangerous driving”.
  • …Oh, are you kidding me?
  • …Vettel wants to know what he did.
  • …He’s carrying on…
  • …He wants specifics.
  • …Dude, you rear-ended a car…
  • …Then, pulled-up alongside it…
  • …Waved your hands…
  • …And, turned right into it.
  • …Behind a Safety Car.
  • …Either he’s trying to play stupid…
  • …Or, he’s absolutely terrifying and a genuine danger to the field.
  • Vettel serves his penalty.
  • …And, comes out just ahead of Hamilton.
  • …In seventh.
  • Drive-through penalties for Kimi and Perez.
  • Hamilton radios to (Race Director) Charlie Whiting that a 10-second penalty isn’t enough.
  • …He’s right.
  • …Especially, with Vettel either denying it and playing stupid, or genuinely unaware of what he did.
  • Can I just point out that, at Lap 35, Ricciardo, Stroll, and Magnussen are in podium position?
  • …Ocon is in fourth.
  • Vettel, Hamilton, and Alonso are battling.
  • …Alonso isn’t interested in this bullshit, and WILL make life as miserable for them as he can.
  • …Vettel pulls ahead.
  • …He -will- be charging.
  • Grosjean radios that he thinks his brakes are gone.
  • …He will pit.
  • …He will be retired.
  • Alonso…
  • …”What a shame.  We could have won this race.”
  • …Oh, Fernando.
  • …Such a radio gem.
  • Ocon passes Magnussen.
  • Bottas follows Ocon.
  • The Saubers touch wheels.
  • …In the fight for 10th.
  • …Lead by Ericsson (at the moment).
  • Alonso is running in eighth, by the way.
  • I’m not comfortable with the Stroll onboard.
  • …It makes me nervous.
  • Bottas passes Ocon.
  • …For third.
  • …Coming back from that first lap disaster and damage.
  • Perez is being instructed to pull in for retirement.
  • …Perez responds, “Yeah, it’s quite broken.”
  • …Well, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
  • …He’ll be back.
  • Vettel passes Ocon.
  • …Without hitting him.
  • …Which was very generous.
  • Hamilton passes Ocon.
  • …Lame.
  • …But, I mean, two multi-time World Champions had to fight to pass him.
  • …In a “mid-field” car.
  • …I think that says a lot.
  • Shot of (Red Bull boss) Christian Horner’s bounding foot.
  • …Covering his face with his hands.
  • Okay, I don’t like crashes, but…
  • …I mean…
  • …(Maybe) if Vettel and Hamilton could collide…
  • …And, a fight could break out…
  • …That could be something that could happen.
  • Alonso radios…
  • …”I have no battery, no power.”
  • …But, the team instructs him to carry on, hold ninth, bring their first points home.
  • Please, stop showing Stroll.
  • …It’s making me queasy.
  • Hamilton…
  • …That was interesting…
  • …He is suggesting that, if Bottas isn’t fighting for second…
  • …(Which, he is)…
  • …He should slow down a bit…
  • …To dirty-up Vettel’s air…
  • …So he can make a move on the Ferrari.
  • …Is there a gas leak on track?
  • …Hot damn, there’s a lot of batshit craziness going around.
  • Williams is calmly radioing Stroll…
  • …Four laps to go…
  • …Nice and easy…
  • …I imagine there’s someone screaming, “BREATHE, JUST BREATHE” over at Williams…
  • …Struggling to deal with what’s happening.
  • …As their 18-year-old driver just continues to do his job.
  • Kimi retires.
  • …Like Perez, there was no lack of trying involved.
  • Wehrlein has pulled ahead of Ericsson, by the way.
  • …In the race for 10th.
  • …10th being the final points position.
  • …If anyone out there was confused.
  • Final lap.
  • Ricciardo, Stroll, and Bottas are in podium position.
  • …Started in 10th, rookie who scored his first points last round, crashed to the back of the grid today.
  • I’m not comfortable with watching this.
  • BOTTAS PASSES STROLL AT THE LINE!!!
  • Jesus christ!!!
  • Okay…
  • Ricciardo (and, his shoes) come from 10th to take the win.
  • Bottas takes the longest way around, back to where he started from.
  • And, Stroll hangs on to become the youngest rookie podium-yoinker in F1 history.
  • With Vettel and Hamilton completing the top five.
  • Ocon, Magnussen, Sainz, Alonso, and Wehrlein survive the drama to take the remaining top-ten points.
  • …Yes, Alonso’s car finished.
  • …For McHonda’s first points this season.
  • …I mean, really, look at that crazy cast of characters.
  • And, you know, nothing but props to the rest of the surviving grid…
  • …Ericsson (who battled, back and forth, to the very end), Vandoorne, and Grosjean.
  • That…
  • …Was crazy.
  • …In the good way…
  • …AND, the bad way.
  • …Holy shit.
  • Dude…
  • …These guys can’t even.
  • …The top three are just smiling and laughing.
  • …Yeah, that happened.
  • …Stroll is providing sound effects.
  • …They’re (all) just having a great time, sharing their stories, laughing.
  • …Yes, even Bottas.
  • …That’s awesome.
  • Stroll’s dad is trying to get through to the front of the crowd.
  • And, even Helmut Marko is smiling.
  • “Dan ‘The Man’ Ricciardo”.
  • …Because, everything’s more fun with Ricciardo.
  • …What a great podium for Stroll to be a part of.
  • …No hostility.
  • …Guys who have (really) had to fight to get ahead.
  • …Whose minds are (still) being blown by successes.
  • Newsflash: Lance Stroll’s dad is unable to even.
  • On a related note…
  • …I bet Stroll’s going to be doing a shoey today.
  • That is a rad podium.
  • David Coulthard will be doing the podium interviews.
  • Ricciardo is laughing…
  • …”I got Max’s hat!”
  • …”Do you really care right now?”
  • …”No.”
  • …As he dangles one hat off the other…
  • …Then, goes about business as usual, as if he’s a normal human, looking normal.
  • Happy Midsummer, Valtteri.
  • …Let’s discuss you and Kimi.
  • …Good times.
  • Stroll…
  • …”I’m just lost for words right now.”
  • …”It was a hectic race…”
  • …This is what drivers should try to preserve.
  • …That feeling of excitement.
  • Coulthard is untying Ricciardo’s shoes.
  • It’s shoey time!!!
  • Stroll’s doing it!!!
  • …”It’s going to scar me for life.”
  • …He’s reporting that, “…there’s dirt in there, too!”.
  • Bottas has (literally) run away.
  • …Resisting, but adding to the comedy of it all.
  • Again, what a fun podium.
  • …F1 needs those when they can get them.
  • …And, this season is full of opportunities for more.
  • …It’s fair game for an open field.
  • Interview with Hamilton…
  • …He seems disappointed, but not upset.
  • …And, his take on the precedent set by Vettel’s actions is dead-on.
  • …The world was watching.
  • …It was bad.
  • …Really bad.
  • Interesting…
  • …Vettel has refused to do any interviews.
  • …I thought he’d gotten past this bullshit that had emerged out of nowhere last season.
  • …But, here we are.
  • …Get your shit together, Svettel.
  • …It’s not a good look.
  • -Deep breath-
  • …(Stroll got third.)
  • Well, Magnussen looks stoked.
  • …As he should.
  • …He had an awesome race.
  • …Running in podium position for a while.
  • …Maintaining points for Haas.
  • …Keeping some morale going, while they deal with their sophomore slump.
  • …(Which…they’re -still- doing well; and, as ‘sophomore slump’ entails, are -still- only in their second year.)
  • …Good-good-good.
  • Interview with Perez.
  • …Whose 30-million race finishes streak has come to an end.
  • …He’s not mad, just disappointed.
  • …Ocon needs to learn to leave a bit more room.
  • …An opportunity lost, but lots to learn and build on.
  • Onto Ocon…
  • …With the usual smile.
  • …Pretty much the same story.
  • …But, with a different view of their collision.
  • …So, there’s more to discuss at Force India.
  • …But, no one’s furious, they’re calm, they’ve got a good idea of what they need to fix.
  • …I think they can.
  • …Ocon’s young and needs some guidance.
  • …Nothing we haven’t seen with other top drivers, just starting out.
  • …Perez being one of them.
  • …So, they’ve got this.
  • …I’m very sure of it.
  • Ooohhh…Vettel.
  • …Whatcha got for us?
  • …Very little.
  • …Will Buxton is grilling him HARD.
  • …Vettel’s trying to talk around it, and Buxton’s not having it.
  • …He’s (really) been going for it lately.
  • …Before the race, McLaren’s Eric Boullier said that he didn’t see any reason why their cars shouldn’t finish.
  • …Buxton said, “I can give you two-and-a-half-years worth of reasons”.
  • …It was beautiful.
  • …He’s not being a dick, or anything.
  • …Just cutting through the crap and getting answers.
  • …And, I’m glad he’s been getting increased exposure on the international level.  He should.
  • …Say “hi” to the little American sports network, kids.
  • …(Insert Eileen Brennan, reintroducing herself at the end of ‘Murder by Death’ -here-)
  • …Also, I think we can (all) cut those two-and-a-half-years down to just the last few minutes of many of those races.
  • …And, don’t forget all the non-starts.
  • …Poor McLaren, and their unfortunate demonstration of insanity.
  • …Doing the same thing over and over again, with the same results, but expecting a magical change.
  • …Anyway, what you just saw (with Vettel) was a classic example of a person, getting cornered in a lie.
  • …It was just unraveling with every question.
  • …Which is very unfortunate.
  • …Now, THAT is very disappointing to see.
  • …VERY disappointing.
  • …I do expect more from Vettel.
  • …As a racer and a human being.
  • …I get it.
  • …But, at that point, why don’t you just say that you got pissed, had a rage black-out, did a shitty thing, and that there’s a lot to discuss, with his team, and regarding Safety Car procedures.
  • …Then, let’s party.
  • …Because, F1 can be fun, goddammit.
  • …Did you not see that podium?!
  • Okay, well, that’s that.
  • Let me just look to see if any Championship standings have been updated…
  • …(Then, I’ll go back and add-in that starting grid, et al.)
  • …(See how that works?)
  • …(I fucked up some shit, so I’m working to correct it as I go.  It’s cool.  No one gives a shit.)
  • The (current) Drivers’ Championship standings look exactly like this…
  • …#5 – Sebastian Vettel (DEU) – Ferrari – 153 / #44 – Lewis Hamilton (GBR) – Mercedes – 139
  • …#77 – Valtteri Bottas (FIN) – Mercedes – 111 / #3 – Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) – Red Bull – 92
  • …#7 – Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) – Ferrari – 73 / #33 – Max Verstappen (NLD) – Red Bull – 45
  • …#11 – Sergio Perez (MEX) – Force India – 44 / #31 – Esteban Ocon (FRA) – Force India – 35
  • …#55 – Carlos Sainz, Jr. (ESP) – Toro Rosso – 29 / #19 – Felipe Massa (BRA) – Williams – 20
  • …#27 – Nico Hülkenberg (DEU) – Renault – 18 / #18 – Lance Stroll (CAN) – Williams – 17
  • …#20 – Kevin Magnussen (DNK) – Haas – 11 / #8 – Romain Grosjean (FRA) – Haas – 10
  • …#94 – Pascal Wehrlein (DEU) – Sauber – 5 / #26 – Daniil Kvyat (RUS) – Toro Rosso – 4
  • …#14 – Fernando Alonso (ESP) – McLaren – 2 / #30 – Jolyon Palmer (GBR) – Renault – 0
  • …#9 – Marcus Ericsson (SWE) – Sauber – 0 / #2 – Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) – McLaren – 0
  • …#36 – Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) – Sauber – 0 / #22 – Jenson Button (GBR) – McLaren – 0
  • And, the (current) Constructors’ Championship standings look like this…
  • …Mercedes – 250 / Ferrari – 226 / Red Bull – 137 / Force India – 79
  • …Williams – 37 / Toro Rosso – 33 / Haas – 21 / Renault – 18
  • …Sauber – 5 / McLaren – 2
  • Next up…
  • …The track limits open up in Austria.
  • …Which will kick off (with the first two Practice sessions) on July 7th.
  • …And, after all this weirdness and unfortunateness, I have no idea where it will go.
  • …Guess there’s only one way to find out.
  • Catch you on the flip side!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF CANADA (9.6.2017 – 11.6.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Hey, guys…
  • Let’s take off…
  • TO THE GREAT WHITE NORTH…
  • (It’s a beauty way to go!)
  • If you haven’t guessed…
  • …It’s time for the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2017!
  • And, if you’re watching from just a bump across the southern border…
  • …Like I am (from just across the Manitoba and Ontario borders, in Minnesota)…
  • …You’re tuning in to one of a handful of races being presented on NBC (proper).
  • Okay, let’s get to the fun facts, shall we?
  • Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve…
  • …(Montréal, Québec, Canada)…
  • …2.710mi (4.361km) in length…
  • …Shaped a bit like a narwal…
  • …With 14 turns…
  • …And,run clockwise…
  • …With 70 laps scheduled (today)…
  • …Which would bring the goal (total) distance to189.686mi (305.27km).
  • …But, as always, this is F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most of it will.
  • …After all, Canada is home to the infamous Wall of Champions, you know.
  • Tires…
  • …Today, teams will be choosing, using, and abusing two of three selected compounds…
  • …Ultrasofts (purple), Supersofts (red), and softs (yellow).
  • …With additional Intermediates (green) and Rains (blue) available, if needed.
  • …It’s (currently) 85F-ish (in Montréal).
  • …And, though cloudy, the race is predicted to be a dry one.
  • In 2016…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took first…
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took second…
  • …And, Williams’ (now with Mercedes) Valtteri Bottas took third.
  • And, in 2017…
  • …Well…
  • …Your top-three qualifiers look very familiar.
  • …Here’s your Starting Grid (with last year’s results in parentheses)…
  • …#44 – Lewis Hamilton – GBR – Mercedes (1) / #5 – Sebastian Vettel – DEU – Ferrari (2)
  • …#77 – Valtteri Bottas – FIN – Mercedes (3) / #7 – Kimi Räikkönen – FIN – Ferrari (6)
  • …#33 – Max Verstappen – NLD – Red Bull (4) / #3 – Daniel Ricciardo – AUS – Red Bull (7)
  • …#19 – Felipe Massa – BRA – Williams (DNF) / #11 – Sergio Perez – MEX – Force India (10)
  • …#31 – Esteban Ocon – FRA – Force India (N/A) / #27 – Nico Hülkenberg – DEU – Renault (8)
  • …#26 – Daniil Kvyat – RUS – Toro Rosso (12) / #14 – Fernando Alonso – ESP – McLaren (11)
  • …#55 – Carlos Sainz, Jr. – ESP – Toro Rosso (9) / #8 – Romain Grosjean – FRA – Haas (14)
  • …#30 – Jolyon Palmer – GBR – Renault (DNF) / #2 – Stoffel Vandoorne – BEL – McLaren (N/A)
  • …#18 – Lance Stroll – CAN – Williams (N/A) / #20 – Kevin Magnussen – DNK – Haas (16)
  • …#9 – Marcus Ericsson – SWE – Sauber (15) / #94 – Pascal Wehrlein – DEU – Sauber (17)*
  • …*Wehrlein qualified 20th, and will start from pitlane (following a five-place grid penalty, for an unscheduled gearbox change).
  • TAKE OFF!!!
  • Jesus christ, is that a swarm!
  • …With no contact!
  • Ooop, yeah, now there’s contact!
  • Sainz is in the wall.
  • Aaannnddd…
  • …A Williams…
  • …Oh, so help me, if that’s Stroll…
  • …It’s Massa.
  • …And, that was a huge crash.
  • …Massa is visibly…
  • …From space…
  • …Furious.
  • …On replay, something happened to Sainz…
  • …Whose car went (completely) out of control…
  • …And, nailed Massa at full speed.
  • …Okay, now Sainz and Massa are under investigation…
  • …But…
  • …Who started it?
  • …Who hit Sainz?
  • Alonso radios, saying that the start was crazy and that everyone needs to calm down.
  • …Um…
  • …Yeah.
  • Take off!
  • Jesus!
  • …What is everyone on?!!!
  • Something has flown off Vettel’s car.
  • Kimi has given the wall a little love tap.
  • …(To the tune of “Love Cats”, if you so choose.)
  • IT WAS GROSJEAN!!!
  • …On replay!!!
  • …He didn’t -cause- it, but it was Grosjean that flipped Sainz into Massa.
  • …After Sainz squeezed Grosjean to the track limits.
  • …So, that’s pretty straightforward.
  • At Lap 10…
  • …Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Perez, Räikkönen, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Kvyat, and Alonso in the top ten.
  • …Hold on…
  • Verstappen is off.
  • Virtual Safety Car.
  • There’s Dr. Helmut Marko.
  • …Who’s going to punch someone.
  • …Then, replace everyone.
  • Engine failure appears to be the culprit.
  • …(For Verstappen’s retirement.)
  • …Based on the sound.
  • Right…
  • …What’d I miss?
  • …I had to take a potty break.
  • …It was a very ‘Strange Brew’ situation.
  • Vettel was in 18th.
  • …He’s up to 13th.
  • Kimi’s in fifth.
  • If you’re wondering where the Ferraris went.
  • …They’re serving time in Hell, for the shady shit they pulled at Monaco.
  • …(And, please, hold your mansplaining; I’ve gone over it over and over, including tire issues and pit stop timing, and so on, and so forth; they made a choice.  End of story.)
  • Magnussen is under investigation for passing under the Virtual Safety Car.
  • There’s some pitting.
  • …For tires.
  • …Räikkönen, Ricciardo, etc.
  • …So, fuck the standings, eh?
  • By the way…
  • …As shit needs to be in English and French…
  • …And, Montréal is (officially) French-speaking…
  • …(Well, Québécois.)
  • …Just pretend this is (all) in French (as well).
  • …My French isn’t great, and…no; just no.
  • Ocon is (currently) running in third.
  • …I just felt that was worth a mention.
  • Okay, on the matter of Alonso, giving McHonda until September to get their shit together…
  • …McHonda won last night’s F1 Raft Race.
  • …(And, were joined by Toro Rosso and Sauber on the podium.)
  • …So, there’s some debate going on.
  • …As to whether (or, not) that counts.
  • …I’m going with “no”.
  • …But, pulling for “sure”.
  • Stroll, all over Magnussen.
  • …The Canadian, on the American car.
  • …Together?
  • …Team America.
  • …Fuck, yeah.
  • McHonda has requested that Alonso resist short shifting, here and there.
  • …Alonso multitasks, and puts one foot out the fucking door.
  • At Lap 25…
  • …Hamilton, Ocon, Bottas, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Perez, Räikkönen, Alonso, Vettel, Magnussen, and Stroll in the top ten.
  • …Hülkenberg, Kvyat, Vandoorne, Grosjean, Palmer, Ericsson, and Wehrlein remain very much in the game.
  • Stroll pits.
  • …From 10th.
  • …Remember, he has yet to score a point in this race.
  • …And, he’s a local.
  • The F1 app has just cut-out.
  • …Okay, it’s back.
  • Five-second penalty for Magnussen.
  • …For blatantly passing Vandoorne under the Virtual Safety Car.
  • Alonso radios complaints with the tires.
  • …Most of which was a rolling ‘r’, saying “Räikkönen”.
  • …I’m not sure Kimi needs any more going on in that name.
  • Is that Trudeau?
  • …With his friend, Barry?
  • …On jetpacks?
  • …It’s windy out there, bros.
  • …(I may have failed to mention that winds are exceeding 12mph.)
  • …(They are.)
  • Speaking of natives…
  • …Thus far (this weekend)…
  • …There’s been a squirrel and some birds on track.
  • …The woodchucks are on their way.
  • …Also, know that it’s turtle crossing season.
  • …I’ve seen a couple, trying to cross the road, every week (lately).
  • …Anyhoo…
  • …Life in a northern town.
  • …Oh, Canada.
  • Ocon pits.
  • …He reenters in sixth.
  • …Between the Ferraris.
  • …So, a World Champion ahead.
  • …And, a four-time World Champion behind.
  • Alonso…
  • …”Embarrassing power in this mode.”
  • …Same, here.
  • …If you missed it, Alonso led the Indy 500 (for a while).
  • …But, ultimately, in the closing laps, had a patented McHonda engine failure.
  • …But, man, was it exciting while it lasted!
  • At Lap 36…
  • …Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, and Perez lead.
  • …With Räikkönen, Ocon, Vettel, Alonso, Hülkenberg, and Kvyat in the top ten.
  • …And, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Grosjean, Palmer, Stroll, Ericsson, and Wehrlein (still) rollin’.
  • Can I just bitch about Ferrari a little more?
  • …Okay, so, following the Monaco Grand Prix, pictures of Vettel’s forever-and-then-some girlfriend and their kids popped up.
  • …Which was super-cool to see.
  • …They’re super-private, she’s rarely been seen since they started a family, and, yeah, it was just cool.
  • …Then, suddenly, they disappeared.
  • …All of them.
  • …Everywhere.
  • …Which was annoying.
  • …Look, I’m big on privacy.
  • …And, in this circus, I get it.
  • …Especially, with kids.
  • …But…
  • …Here’s the thing…
  • …If you’re going to show up at Monaco, you’re going to be seen.
  • …There’s no way around it.
  • …It’s where people go -to be seen-.
  • …So, I mean, come the fuck on.
  • …Again, I’m huge on privacy.
  • …Believer-in, and practitioner of.
  • …But, let’s cut the crap, shall we?
  • …I am very disappointed in this.
  • …No, not, like, in the mad way…
  • …But, yeah.
  • …Just, again, it was just very nice to see.  Nice to see that Hanna felt comfortable enough to not only show up at the most publicized round of the season, but bring the kids.
  • …Not that she was going to become a media whore or anything.
  • …But, yeah…
  • …If any of this makes sense.
  • …I care about the humans involved.
  • …I really do.
  • …”WaGs” rule.  They work hard, and put up with a lot.
  • …Often, drivers are the dudes who introduce you to awesome people you’d never find (otherwise).
  • …I like Hanna and Seb.
  • …If I were capable of love, they’d be (total) couples goals.
  • …Anyway, it was just nice to see her.
  • …Sorry for being weird and judge-y.
  • …Don’t worry, I’m not a stalker or anything like that.
  • …I have severe social anxiety, and believe I’m not worth knowing.
  • …That got weird.
  • …I’m sorry.
  • …Bygones.
  • Okay…
  • …Back to the real reason we’re (all) here.
  • Stroll passes Alonso (for 10th).
  • …As I was typing standings.
  • …Because, that’s how we’re rolling today (I guess).
  • Let’s try this (again)…
  • …At Lap 50…
  • …Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, and Perez lead.
  • …With Ocon, Räikkönen, Vettel, Hülkenberg, Kvyat, and Stroll in the top ten.
  • …And, Alonso, Grosjean, Palmer, Ericsson, Magnussen, Vandoorne, and Wehrlein running.
  • …Sainz, Massa, and Verstappen remain very much out.
  • YES!!!
  • …A little clip of last night’s F1 Raft Race!
  • …Seriously, if you didn’t see the video and photos…
  • …Do so.
  • …Right after the race.
  • …Just go through the F1, team, and circuit social media feeds.
  • …Renault called it “epic”.
  • …A term that is grossly overused.
  • …But, 100% appropriate for what went down last night.
  • Perez is riding Ricciardo.
  • …Seeking third.
  • …But, Ocon, who’s right on Perez, has radioed that he thinks -he- can make the push.
  • …A lot of back-and-forth has ensued.
  • …Perez, pleading to let them race (rather than use team orders).
  • Kvyat is making a frantic call.
  • …He’s ordered in.
  • …Whoa!
  • …And, I don’t know what’s going on.
  • …There are issues with a tire mix.
  • …The engine sounds wonky.
  • …It sounds like they’re directing Kvyat to stop the engine.
  • …Yep, they’re pulling him in.
  • …He’s been fighting that car through the entire race.
  • …So, double-retirement for Toro Rosso.
  • The Force Indias are (still) in a radio debate over what to do.
  • …With the concern being, something needs to happen before the Ferraris catch up.
  • …Aaannnddd, here comes Kimi.
  • …Perez can do it.
  • …There’s zero doubt about that.
  • …But, maybe, today, his car can’t.
  • …They’ve let it go too long.
  • …Now, Vettel’s passed-up Kimi.
  • …So, Force India’s got to decide on a move.
  • …Like, now.
  • …There’s no room for Ocon to hold back.
  • …Come on, guys!
  • Kimi has blown a turn.
  • …And, he’s been radioing issues with smells.
  • …Which is (always) awesome.
  • Vettel is right on the Force Indias.
  • Kimi’s getting audibly frustrated over the radio.
  • …As they’re relaying various setting adjustments to try.
  • Oh, my god!
  • …Vettel’s all over Ocon!
  • …Ocon’s alongside Perez!
  • …Did they touch?!!!
  • …Vettel and Ocon?!
  • …Ocon went off!
  • …He’s back on!
  • …Now, -he’s- on Vettel!
  • …But, Vettel’s right on Perez.
  • There’s a local Yellow.
  • …But, where?
  • …And, who?
  • …Oh, it’s Alonso.
  • …Two fucking laps away from his first points of the season.
  • Alonso has abandoned the car…
  • …And, has hopped over, and into the stands.
  • …He is (actually) in the crowd!
  • …He’s with the fans!
  • …Fuck yeah, fuck that shit!!!
  • …That may be the greatest “fuck you, peace out” since Kimi got on a yacht at Monaco.
  • Oh, jesus.
  • …The Force Indias are fighting, side-by-side, to the finish.
  • …Slow clap.
  • …What a fucking mess.
  • Anyhoo…
  • …It’s over.
  • Blah, blah, blah…
  • …LANCE STROLL TAKES NINTH!!!
  • …His first points of the season.
  • …At home.
  • Okay, as Hamilton flies the Union Jack around the circuit, here’s how it went…
  • …Hamilton takes his sixth Canadian Grand Prix win (to match six poles).
  • …And, will be joined by Bottas and Ricciardo (on the podium).
  • …With Vettel, Perez, Ocon, Räikkönen, Hülkenberg, Stroll, and Grosjean completing the top ten.
  • …And, Palmer, Magnussen, Ericsson, Vandoorne, and Wehrlein surviving the challenge.
  • …Unlike Sainz, Massa, Verstappen, Kvyat, and Alonso, who did not.
  • …(Yes, you read that correctly, Palmer just missed points.)
  • Well…
  • …That was very quiet at the front.
  • …Chaotic just behind.
  • …And, eventful the rest of the way back.
  • Is that Trudeau…
  • …On a chariot…
  • …Being pulled by fish?
  • …With Obama…
  • …On a jetski?
  • …Bygones.
  • Hey, no wildlife.
  • …That was nice.
  • While they crank out the national anthems…
  • …Can I just remind everyone of the movie ‘Canadian Bacon’?
  • …With John Candy?
  • …Michael Moore, before he shifted his focus to documentaries?
  • Anyhoo…
  • That was some weird, random champagne spraying.
  • …There was bumping into one another.
  • …Spraying nothing.
  • …Okay.
  • Hey, it’s Patrick fucking Stewart!!!
  • …He uses the poop emoji in his social media bios.
  • …Alongside a photo of him, in a ball pit.
  • …The dude’s a party!
  • Bottas wanted a mic.
  • …He wasn’t given one, and was signaling to Patrick Stewart that he needed one.
  • …This may be the first time a Finn has ever been in that position.
  • …The awkwardness had to have been off the fucking charts.
  • …I hope he recovers.
  • …One day.
  • SHOEY!!!
  • …PATRICK STEWART HAS REQUESTED HIS OWN SHOE!!!
  • …HE’S CHUGGING IT!!!
  • …”I’VE MADE THE PODIUM FOR THE FIRST TIME, I WILL DRINK OUT OF ANYONE’S SHOE!”
  • …(When Hamilton gives him props on going for it.)
  • …AND, THAT’S WHY HE’S “SIR” PATRICK STEWART.
  • …AND, THAT’S WHY HE’S JUST WON THE CANADIAN GRAND PRIX.
  • …Hot damn, the North American rounds never fail to give the give of batshitfuckingcraziness.
  • Hey…
  • …So…
  • …Did anyone ever find Alonso?
  • Oh, there he is!
  • …He was going to throw the gloves into the crowd, but the grandstands were too far.
  • …So, he just climbed on over.
  • …The thinks IndyCar might have rubbed off on him a little.
  • …He did mention (on Thursday) that the Indy atmosphere was completely different (from F1)…
  • …That everyone seems to enjoy their selves more (in IndyCar).
  • Now, onto another winning driver who keeps getting fucked over…
  • …Kimi.
  • …Who managed to cross the line, in spite of brake failure.
  • …But, as usual, he’s not giving anyone much to report on.
  • …It was a bad weekend.
  • …They’ll move on.
  • …Team, team, Nordics don’t like talking about themselves, team.
  • After all that, Ocon is -still- smiling.
  • …Oh, my god.
  • …This kid is fantastic.
  • …When asked if he thinks his teammate (also) had the team in mind…
  • …He went with a “no comment”…
  • …And, a laugh.
  • …Interestingly, he didn’t have any idea that they’d told Perez to let him past.
  • Oh, onto Perez…
  • …Who took a long pause, with an exhale, before answering “Are you proud of what you’ve achieved today?”.
  • …He sounds absolutely jacked.
  • …Like, his adrenaline is (still) at an absolute high.
  • …Speaking really quickly, and just 100% convinced that he could have gotten Ricciardo…
  • …Had Ricciardo made any mistakes.
  • …So…
  • …Whose fault is this?
  • …(Not that they totally fucked up, but they could have done better.)
  • …Honestly, I’m going with the team.
  • …Perez is Perez.
  • …He’s a manimal.
  • …It wasn’t a case of him, thinking he could pass Ricciardo…
  • …He was absolutely sure he could, and that’s where his focus was.
  • …If they wanted him to let Ocon by, they needed to bust out that Force…
  • …Construct a clear plan, then relay it even more clearly.
  • …As it stands, Perez drove like the manimal he is.
  • …With only his car slowing him down.
  • …And, his teammate, trying to balance being a team player with Vettel right on him.
  • …So, yes, I do believe Force India will have some chatting to do.
  • …But, it’s not the end of the world.
  • …They both rocked it.
  • …As they do.
  • …The team just discovered a weak point in their chain.
  • STROLL!
  • …To everyone who has been calling for him to be dropped…
  • …Feel free to review his shit luck (this season).
  • …Being caught in this, in that, by this, by that.
  • …All of which has overshadowed solid numbers, from testing to today.
  • …And, today, he’s taken his first points.
  • …Under the hometown disadvantage.
  • …Give the kid a break.
  • …He’s 18, he’s a rookie, the Williams has had some issues this season…
  • …He’s fine.
  • …And, cut the crap about his place being bought.
  • …This is F1.
  • …Every one of these seats is paid for.
  • …Whether from personal accounts or sponsors obtained through connections…
  • …Which are made through a lot of talking and game-playing.
  • …Money gets you in.
  • …But, it’s talent that keeps you there.
  • …Thus far, he’s held his own.
  • …Let’s just give him (and everyone else*) the benefit of the doubt…
  • …And, see what he does with this opportunity he’s been given.
  • …*Except Ferrari.
  • …The kid kicked some major ass (today).
  • …He’s got more points than all of McLaren.
  • …Let’s just do that being happy for the guy thing.
  • …Cool?
  • On the subject of McHonda…
  • …I don’t know what the solution is.
  • …Look, I’m a person who’s guilty of sticking with shitty things, convinced that the situation will (somehow) get better.
  • …I get it.
  • …I mean, they have a solid past, and, when someone wants a reliable car, the first names that spring to mind are Honda and Toyota.
  • …But, for whatever reason, this isn’t working.
  • …And, outside, looking in, I can assure them that they’ve given it enough time.
  • …They started to do a little better last season.
  • …But, this season has been a serious slide backward.
  • …If they can get started on their research right now, they might have a shot at a solid midfield+ car with a Mercedes power unit (next season).
  • …Sauber has (already) committed to a Honda partnership (for 2018).
  • …Which puts Honda in a lower-pressure position to try to pinpoint their issues and fix them.
  • …Sauber, having had their own issues for several years (now), and lacking the (current) prestige and budget for proven top drivers, while (still) holding enough cards to attract talented and experienced drivers, are better equipped to deal with experimentation.
  • …So, I guess you could look at it as moving aside, and handing it over to the experts.
  • …I do not have a solution for the Alonso dilemma.
  • …Mercedes is expected to extend Bottas’ (one-year) contract.
  • …Ferrari…
  • …A) has no real reason to break up that team.
  • …B) I can’t imagine Alonso returning to Ferrari – especially with Vettel.
  • …And, Red Bull remains a bit hit or miss (with success).
  • …Williams could be looking for someone (as Massa -did- come out of retirement for this season).
  • …But, again, they’ve been struggling.
  • …So…
  • …I don’t know.
  • On that note…
  • …I think that’s aboot (yep) that for the Canadian Grand Prix.
  • …Which, by the way, has extended its F1 contract through 2029.
  • …So, yay (so many times over).
  • But first, the Championship standings…
  • The Drivers’ Championship…
  • …Vettel – 141 / Hamilton – 129 / Bottas – 93 / Räikkönen – 73
  • …Ricciardo – 67 / Verstappen – 45 / Perez – 44 / Ocon – 27
  • …Sainz – 25 / Massa – 20 / Hülkenberg – 18 / Grosjean – 10
  • …Magnussen – 5 / Wehrlein – 4 / Kvyat – 4 / Stroll – 2
  • …Palmer – 0 / Ericsson – 0 / Alonso – 0 / Vandoorne – 0
  • …Giovinazzi – 0 / Button – 0
  • The Constructors’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes – 222 / Ferrari – 214 / Red Bull – 112 / Force India – 71
  • …Toro Rosso – 29 / Williams – 22 / Renault – 18 / Haas – 15
  • …Sauber – 4 / McLaren – 0
  • Next up…
  • …Azerbaijan.
  • …The ancient-meets-futuristic streets of Baku.
  • …For its sophomore year.
  • …Coming at you…
  • …BOOM…
  • …June 23rd – 25th.
  • …(The standard Friday – P1, P2 / Saturday – P3, Q / Sunday – GP deal.)
  • …So, write that down on a Post-It, and stick it to your face.
  • …And, remember, if you’re going…
  • …You might be seen.
  • …Possibly by people with cameras.
  • Au revoir!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF MONACO (25.5.2017 – 28.5.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • -silent stare-
  • -eyebrow raise-
  • MONACO!!!!!!!
  • It’s the 75th running of the Monaco Grand Prix!!!
  • And, it’s on NBC (in the US).
  • Let’s do this!!!
  • (Oh, my god!!!)
  • Okay…
  • …A little bit about the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2017…
  • …Which is run around the Circuit de Monaco…
  • …In Monte-Carlo and La Condamine.
  • …The circuit is 2.074 mi (3.337 km) long.
  • …In a principality that is .78 sq mi (2.02 sq km).
  • …It has 19 tight-ass turns.
  • …Including the tightest hairpin in F1.
  • …So tight that teams have to bust out a special steering system once a year.
  • …And, today, there are 78 laps scheduled.
  • …Bringing the grand total target distance to 161.734 mi (260.286 km).
  • …As always, I word that very selectively, as anything can happen in F1.
  • …And, most of it will.
  • …Especially, on the narrow streets of Monaco.
  • …On a related note, remember that the cars and tires are significantly wider this year.
  • …It’s been a barrier-bumpy ride thus far (this weekend).
  • Tire-wise…
  • …The three options are Ultrasoft (purple), Supersoft (red), and Soft (yellow).
  • …Of which they -have- to use two.
  • …(Wah-wah-waaahhh)
  • …With Intermediate (green) and Rain (blue) variations (always) available.
  • Weather-wise…
  • …It’s a sunny 78F in the principality.
  • …The unicorn of the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • …So, they (probably) won’t be needing those wet-weather options.
  • In 2016…
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, and Force India’s Perez took the podium.
  • …But, let’s just scootch on past that whole dramafest, shall we?
  • …Focusing on Perez’s drive as we mosey to 2017.
  • Today’s starting grid (with 2016 results in parentheses)…
  • …#7 – Kimi Räikkönen – FIN – Ferrari (DNF) / #5 – Sebastian Vettel – DEU – Ferrari
  • …#77 – Valtteri Bottas – FIN – Mercedes (12) / #33 – Max Verstappen – NLD – Red Bull (DNF)
  • …#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – AUS – Red Bull (2) / #55 – Carlos Sainz, Jr. – ESP – Toro Rosso (8)
  • …#11 – Sergio Perez – MEX – Force India (3) / #8 – Romain Grosjean – FRA – Haas (13)
  • …#26 – Daniil Kvyat – RUS – Toro Rosso (DNF) / #27 – Nico Hülkenberg – DEU – Renault (6)
  • …#20 – Kevin Magnussen – DNK – Haas (DNF) / #2 – Stoffel Vandoorne – BEL – McLaren (N/A)*
  • …#44 – Lewis Hamilton – GBR – Mercedes (1) / #19 – Felipe Massa – BRA – Williams (10)
  • …#31 – Esteban Ocon – FRA – Force India (N/A) / #30 – Jolyon Palmer – GBR – Renault (DNF)
  • …#18 – Lance Stroll – CAN – Williams (N/A) / #94 – Pascal Wehrlein – DEU – Sauber (14)
  • …#9 – Marcus Ericsson – SWE – Sauber (DNF) / #22 – Jenson Button – GBR – McLaren**
  • …*Vandoorne qualified 10th, but is serving a three-place penalty for causing a collision at Spain.
  • …**Button qualified ninth, but was smacked with a 15-place power-unit-compenent-swap penalty.
  • …And, has opted to start from pitlane.
  • Here we go!!!!!!!
  • No one crashes into anyone!!!
  • …Or, anything.
  • …It’s amazing!!!
  • Everything is running smoothly thus far.
  • There is nothing to report.
  • Before the start, Button received a radio patch-in from Fernando Alonso.
  • …Who, if you’ll recall, is taking this weekend off, to give the Indy 500 a shot.
  • …(Which, he’s been rocking the shit out of.)
  • …Entrusting the semi-retired Button (who hadn’t touched a 2017 model prior to this weekend) with his car.
  • …He wished his friend well, and directed him to take care of his car.
  • …To which Button responded, “I’m going to pee in your seat.”
  • …And, then, like the professional F1 veterans they are, they busted-out laughing.
  • A little drama in the pitlane, as Wehrlein and Button nearly do the bump.
  • …During P2, Button radioed that nothing has changed, that there are (still) a lot of idiots.
  • …Calmly, with bleeping.
  • …Because, he’s right, some things just never change.
  • …Anyhoo, that pitlane incident is under investigation.
  • Okay, here’s the thing about Monaco…
  • …It’s frustratingly difficult to pass anywhere on the circuit.
  • …Factor in the expansion of the tires and cars, and…
  • …Well…
  • …Keep an eye on the standings, but…
  • …Yeah…
  • …Just enjoy the race, and all that it is.
  • Five-second penalty for Wehrlein.
  • …Unsafe release.
  • I haven’t updated standings, as there’s been some early pitting, tossing up the standings.
  • …But…
  • At Lap 15…
  • …Räikkönen, Vettel, Bottas, and Verstappen lead.
  • …With Ricciardo, Sainz, Perez, Grosjean, Magnussen, and Hülkenberg running in the top ten.
  • …And, Kvyat, Hamilton, Vandoorne, Massa, Ocon, Palmer, Stroll, Ericsson, Wehrlein, and Button (still) very much in it.
  • …No retirements thus far.
  • So, can I revise that last part?
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg is out.
  • …Total gearbox failure.
  • But, still, no crashes.
  • However, there is a long way to go.
  • Do you want to discuss Kimi?
  • …His first pole since 2008.
  • …A record 129 race gap.
  • …And, other negative-adjacent factoids.
  • …How about that this is only the second Ferrari front row lockout in, like, 40 years?
  • …The other one?
  • …Kimi and Massa.
  • …Sooo…
  • …What are these problems Ferrari keeps inventing?
  • …About a lack of motivation, not getting shit done, etc?
  • …Because, looking at it, he’s their most steadily reliable asset.
  • …And, as far as motivation goes…
  • …He’ll be 38 (this Fall).
  • …He could buy the planet.
  • …If he didn’t want to be there, he wouldn’t be.
  • …He’s left before (to try WRC and NASCAR truck racing).
  • …Maybe the real problem is that the Ferrari powers that be are on goddamn crack.
  • …Bygones.
  • …Anyway, yesterday, F1’s Twitter account posted a fastest sector graphic…
  • …Räikkönen / Räikkönen / Räikkönen.
  • …I joked that it was like Beetlejuice…
  • …If you say his name three times, he’ll appear on the top of the podium.
  • …Then, he got pole.
  • …So, feel free to try that.
  • …If you’re wondering, if drivers try it, he’ll appear in their mirrors.
  • …Like Bloody Mary, or Candyman.
  • …But, darker and scarier, and right on them.
  • At Lap 23…
  • …Räikkönen, Vettel, Bottas, and Verstappen lead.
  • …With Ricciardo, Sainz, Grosjean, Magnussen, Kvyat, and Hamilton in the top ten.
  • …And, Vandoorne, Massa, Ocon, Palmer, Stroll, Perez, Ericsson, Wehrlein, and Button, ready to pounce on any points-openings.
  • …Thus far, the lone retirement stands at Hülkenberg.
  • …Who can just walk home to his beloved couch and TV (from the circuit).
  • Ericsson, the quiet Swede, is getting shouty over the radio.
  • …Over a lack of grip.
  • …Which can be seen very easily on TV.
  • …It has been a problem all weekend for drivers.
  • Vettel is right on Kimi.
  • …As they approach tail-end traffic.
  • …Which, I mean, navigating through, on these narrow roads, isn’t as simple as it seems.
  • …Button finds a spot to (safely and securely) scootch over, and does so.
  • If you’re watching, and wondering why the fuck George Lucas is there…
  • …Well, he does love showing up at these races.
  • …If you’re wondering why his ‘Star Wars’ friends are there…
  • …Last week marked the 40th anniversary of ‘Star Wars’.
  • …Which coincided with the 40th anniversary of Renault in F1.
  • …So, they decided to celebrate together.
  • A 3.5 second stop for Verstappen.
  • …Verstappen has yet to finish at Monaco.
  • …And, it’s nice to see that Red Bull was ready for him.
  • …Unlike last year…
  • …When they called Ricciardo in…
  • …And, weren’t ready for him.
  • …Which ruined the race he was on track to win.
  • Bottas pits.
  • …3.7 seconds.
  • …And, comes out ahead of Verstappen.
  • Kimi pits.
  • …3.4 seconds.
  • …He comes out behind Ricciardo and Vettel.
  • Ericsson pits…
  • …Which gives him a few seconds away from wrestling that car.
  • Sainz pits.
  • …With the pitting, he’d jumped up to fourth.
  • …Causing problems for the Red Bulls.
  • Red Bull calls Ricciardo in…
  • …Oh, that’s cheek-clenching…
  • …Whoa!
  • …2.8 seconds!
  • …Think they’d been preparing for that?
  • Vettel pits.
  • …3.1 seconds.
  • …Oh, shit!
  • …He re-enters ahead of Kimi.
  • …So…I mean…given the difficulty of the circuit…
  • …That could be that for any hopes of a Kimi pole-to-win story.
  • Verstappen has been amazingly mature all season.
  • …Very calm and collected.
  • …He’s (totally) settled into his place in F1.
  • …But, this is Monaco.
  • …And, he’s joined the frustrated radio screaming club.
  • Puncture for Ocon.
  • …Ocon has finished with points in every race this season.
  • …But, this is the rookie’s first time at Monaco.
  • …Like, ever.
  • …In any racing.
  • …And, he’s struggling.
  • …Now, this.
  • …On the bright side, he’s driven a pretty uneventful race.
  • …As he radioed, he didn’t touch anything.
  • …So, though an unbelievable streak may be ending (though, there’s still a long way to go)…
  • …It is far from a loss for the smily rookie.
  • At Lap 45…
  • …Vettel, Räikkönen, Ricciardo, and Bottas lead.
  • …Followed by Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz, Grosjean, Kvyat, and Vandoorne (in the points).
  • …With Perez, Massa, Magnussen, Palmer, Stroll, Ericsson, Ocon, Wehrlein, and Button…
  • …Outside, looking in.
  • …Mr Incredible remains the lone retirement.
  • …From mechanical failure, not a crash.
  • …So, remember this goddamn miracle of a run.
  • By the way…
  • …I am 100% convinced that Ferrari sacrificed Kimi on purpose.
  • …In the name of advancing Vettel’s Championship lead.
  • …Oh, hey, (now) the NBC Sports crew is discussing it!
  • …So, we’re (all) seeing the same thing, then?
  • …WE SEE YOU, FERRARI.
  • …-Does eye to subject pointing motion-
  • …I better not hear one fucking word about a lack of motivation, or any sort of blame on Kimi.
  • …So help me fucking god.
  • Now, Magnussen has a puncture.
  • …Is there something on track?
  • …The only incident has been Perez’s minor front wing ding (at the start).
  • …Sooo…I have no idea what’s going on.
  • …Maybe it’s all the sharp dressed men.
  • …(I can bring up ZZ Top more than once in a season, right?)
  • At Lap 53…
  • …Vettel, Räikkönen, Ricciardo, and Bottas lead.
  • …With Verstappen, Sainz, Hamilton, Grosjean, Kvyat, and Vandoorne in the top ten.
  • …And, Perez, Massa, Magnussen, Palmer, Stroll, Ericsson, Ocon, Wehrlein, and Button (still) rolling.
  • Uuuhhh…
  • …There are calls coming in that the tire-puncture culprit is a dislodged manhole cover.
  • …Which has happened before.
  • …And, if you’ll recall, they went crazy, making sure all the covers were secure on every street circuit (following that incident).
  • …Whelp, it appears one has gone rogue.
  • …So…will there be a Safety Car period (to ensure it doesn’t flip up and kill someone, or whatever)?
  • …Hmmm…
  • Did you know that the tunnel is the only inside section in F1?
  • …You (probably) did.
  • …You just didn’t know you did.
  • …And, now, you know that, too.
  • What the fuck kind of a call is that?!
  • …”Track is breaking up.”?!
  • …So…they did some resurfacing, and it didn’t take?
  • …On top of having a rogue manhole cover?
  • …Good lord.
  • …The circuit is (actually) trying to cause a crash.
  • Holy shit!
  • Is that a car?!
  • There’s a car, flipped on its side, against a wall.
  • …Like, top, against the rail.
  • …Bottom, facing out.
  • …It was camo.
  • …Oh, shit; it’s Wehrlein.
  • …Just after a very close scuffle with Perez.
  • …Yellow Flag, and a Safety Car.
  • Oh, Button is stopped on track!
  • …Are they connected?
  • Sauber, radioing Wehrlein…
  • …”Are you okay?”
  • …”Yeah.  I’d be better if I could get out.”
  • …Awesome response, sir.
  • Okay, on replay…
  • …Button just clipped Wehrlein, turning into the tunnel.
  • …The McHonda’s front wing just got under the Sauber, and flipped it into the barrier.
  • …With Button, coming to a halt with a full view of the new billboard.
  • …I guess that was something he hadn’t seen in his long career.
  • …(This -is- his 400th start, tying him with Schumacher for second-most F1 starts.)
  • …Check.
  • …Welcome back, Jenson.
  • …Also, on replay, was Button’s front wing, which was -just- dinged and dragging on the front-left edge.
  • …Crazy.
  • Aaannnddd, there you go…
  • …Ericsson has crashed.
  • …Under a Safety Car, yes.
  • …So, the Yellow Flags continue to fly.
  • …That was a weird, slo-mo crash.
  • …Anyhoo.
  • Green light go!
  • And, the guys at the front are getting aggressive!
  • Aw, fuck it.
  • Vandoorne has crashed.
  • …From a points position.
  • …It looked like too-evasive action, trying to avoid Perez, who was going for it.
  • So much for a historically uneventful race.
  • …As we play out to English Beat’s  “Save it for Later”.
  • Close call for Ricciardo.
  • …Because, yeah, sure. why not?
  • We’ve made it to Lap 70…
  • …Will the entire fucking grid just pile up (now)?
  • By the way, at Lap 70…
  • …Your top ten is…
  • …Vettel, Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Verstappen, Sainz, Hamilton, Grosjean, Kvyat, and Perez.
  • …With Massa, Magnussen, Palmer, Ocon, and Stroll (still) going for it.
  • …”It” being, you know, finishing sans drama.
  • Scratch that.
  • …Kvyat’s car is stopped.
  • …Yellow Flag.
  • …So, just remove Kvyat from those standings, adjust as needed.
  • …Oh, Perez ran into him.
  • …Perez has been driving with a mission, and had shushed his team a bit earlier.
  • …It seems to have backfired.
  • …Now, Perez has pitted.
  • …More than likely, due to damage.
  • Williams is pulling Stroll’s car into the garage.
  • …He’d radioed with serious handling issues a while back.
  • …Which continues the sad modern legacy of Williams, sucking at Monaco.
  • Three laps left…
  • …With 13 (of 20) cars remaining.
  • …Hülkenberg, Wehrlein, Button, Ericsson, Vandoorne, Kvyat, and Stroll have exited.
  • …All (but Hülkenberg) in just the last few laps.
  • …Because, welcome to Monaco.
  • Final lap.
  • …And, it’s gone a full 78.
  • Finnish flags all around.
  • …Waiting for an expected win, that just isn’t going to happen.
  • Vettel wins.
  • Kimi, second.
  • Ricciardo, third.
  • With Bottas and Verstappen rounding out the top five.
  • …Yes, Verstappen has finished a Monaco Grand Prix.
  • And, Sainz, Hamilton, Grosjean, Massa, and Magnussen taking points home.
  • …A nice, double-points finish to boost the mood of Haas, in their sophomore slump.
  • While Palmer, Ocon, and Perez complete the task, but leave with “only” valuable experience.
  • …Yes, this ends Perez’s long-ass points streak, not to mention Force India’s double-points run.
  • Shot of Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco.
  • …Charlene, rocking a red dress, with red lips, as if anticipating a Ferrari win.
  • …When, really, it’s just in honor of the Monaco flag.
  • …Waiting at the podium.
  • …The…new…balcony?  I’m second guessing myself, but that -is- new, right?
  • …Anyhoo, they’re waiting…
  • …For Kimi.
  • …You know they were hoping for a Kimi win.
  • Man, Kimi doesn’t look stoked.
  • …Join the club, bro.
  • Albert presents the first-place trophy to Svettel.
  • But, Charlene gets the win, giving Kimi his.
  • And, Andrea Casiraghi (son of Princess Caroline) presents Ricciardo with his third-place trophy.
  • …(I keep typing “Princesse”.  God, could I be any snobbier/nerdier?  Jeez.)
  • …(Sorry, lifelong Grace Kelly worshipper.  I’m surrounded by Grace and Grimaldi books as I type.)
  • Kimi looks disturbed.
  • …Like, even icier than usual.
  • …Oh, strike that, he’s starting to look pissed.
  • …Yeah, he’s not playing the champagne-spraying game.
  • …If you weren’t feeling it before, Kimi will make you feel it (now).
  • …Dude…look at everyone…
  • …You can tell that Ricciardo’s feeling it.
  • …And, probably, having flashbacks to last year, when he was robbed – and pissed.
  • …Also, if you’ve never paid attention before, always watch Albert and Charlene.
  • …Especially, Charlene.
  • …They pay attention.
  • …And, they’re (both) Olympic athletes, who know the game.
  • …If something is shitty or shady, they WILL notice.
  • …And, they won’t hide it very well.
  • …Fun fact to keep in mind (for future Monaco Grands Prix).
  • Hey, look who’s doing the podium interviews!
  • …It’s Monacan reigning World Champion, Nico Rosberg!
  • …Who is wondering where the Ferrari guys are.
  • …So, he’s just hanging with Ricciardo.
  • …Oh, hey, he (actually) went straight into the strategic move (with Vettel).
  • …Then, he goes right for it (with Kimi), ending with telling him that he gets it.
  • …Rosberg knows this crap all-too well.
  • …He wasn’t fucking around, and getting right to what everyone saw.
  • …Oh, Kimi just walked off (after Rosberg wrapped the interviews).
  • …(Nothing standout with Ricciardo, by the way; they discussed the tough race, and laughed.)
  • …(Between Ricciardo’s face, assessing the mood.)
  • Magnussen, talking about having such a nightmare season.
  • …And, not a great race.
  • …But, yes, please, let’s focus on both Haas cars, getting points.
  • …At Monaco.
  • …This is (only) the team’s second year.
  • …And, Magnussen’s first year with the team.
  • …Not to mention, everyone is running brand, new, wider, more powerful cars.
  • …This is a good thing!
  • Ooo – Button!
  • …Discussing the Wehrlein accident.
  • …I mean, what he described is exactly what it looked like…
  • …That the cars had enough room, then, suddenly, very suddenly, as they turned, they didn’t.
  • …Adding that, yes, it’s an unusual sight to see.
  • …And, a very scary, uncertain sight to see.
  • …Emphasizing that the important thing is that, thankfully, it was a very slow-speed crash, and that Wehrlein is okay.
  • …And, that he’ll take away yesterday’s Qualifying result as his memory (from this weekend).
  • …As he rides (back) into the California sunset.
  • …(I miss Button.)
  • Good god, Hamilton seems genuinely upset.
  • …Like, near tears.
  • …Someone get his dogs!!!
  • …GIVE HIM HIS DOGS!!!
  • …Where’s his friend, Lindsey Vonn?!
  • …GET LINDSEY VONN!!!
  • …AND, SERENA WILLIAMS!!!
  • Okay, well, that’s that (for Monaco).
  • Here are your Drivers’ Championship standings…
  • …Vettel – 129 / Hamilton – 104 / Bottas – 75 / Räikkönen – 67
  • …Ricciardo – 52 / Verstappen – 45 / Perez – 34 / Sainz – 25
  • …Massa – 20 / Ocon – 19 / Hülkenberg – 14 / Grosjean – 9
  • …Magnussen – 5 / Wehrlein – 4 / Kvyat – 4 / Palmer – 0
  • …Ericsson – 0 / Stroll – 0 / Alonso – 0 / Vandoorne – 0
  • …Giovinazzi – 0 / Button – 0
  • And, here are your Constructors’ (Constrictors’) Championship standings…
  • …Ferrari – 196 / Mercedes – 179 / Red Bull – 97 / Force India – 53
  • …Toro Rosso – 29 / Williams – 20 / Renault – 14 / Haas – 14
  • …Sauber – 4 / McLaren – 0
  • Next up…
  • …Well, folks, get ready to roll on my time.
  • …Because, it’s the Canadian Grand Prix.
  • …So, Montréal, which runs one hour ahead of me.
  • …(And, fun fact, is about the same distance away as Austin.)
  • …Action kicks off the afternoon of Friday, June 9th.
  • …With the race on Sunday, June 11th.
  • …So, back to the standard Friday (P1, P2), Saturday (P3, Q), Sunday (GP) deal-y-o.
  • Now…
  • …NBCSN is re-airing the race right now.
  • …But, don’t forget that the Indy 500 starts at 11a (CT), on ABC.
  • …Which, if you don’t (already) tune in every year (for at least the last few laps)…
  • …You’re (probably) going to want to this year.
  • …Alonso takes the Hoo-thee-er Thate!
  • …I should assume I’m not allowed in either Indiana or Spain, right?
  • …Hey, fun game to play with your mom…
  • …”I’ve been thinking about going (back) to school.  I’ve been looking at Indiana University.  I could be a Hoo-thee-er.”
  • …Yeah, watch her face go from stoked to an array of not + disgusted.
  • …Good times.
  • …I’ve driven through northwest Indiana.
  • …Gary smelled (kinda) rank.
  • …(In high school, my best friend pointed out that I initially describe places by scent; it’s been noted by others since then.  So, I guess I do that.)
  • …But, it’s okay.
  • …I thought going through Milwaukee was worse.
  • …And, Thunder Bay smelled like demonic possession.
  • …Sweet dunes on Lake Michigan.
  • …Though, if you want your mind blown, check out the dunes in Michigan.
  • …Anyhoo…
  • …I haven’t made it any further into the Indiana, though.
  • …The thought of driving through tollway-ass Illinois just doesn’t appeal to me.
  • …Yeah.
  • Anyway…
  • Have a racetastic day!!!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN (12.5.2017 – 14.5.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • ¡Hola!
  • Welcome to the Spanish Grand Prix!
  • Or, the Formula 1 Gran Premio de España Pirelli 2017.
  • …If you’re feeling fancy.
  • Anyhoo, it’s live on NBCSN this morning.
  • …(If you’re in the US…and, looking for an escape from the news.)
  • …(F1 IS LOUD, TOO!!!  VERY SHOUT-Y!!!  MUCH BETTER INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS!!!)
  • Sooo…
  • …(And, I just read that starting sentences with “So…” is an American thing.)
  • …(Do I get bonus points for mine, having a ‘slight’ Valley girl tone?)
  • …(I didn’t specify as to whether the points were to be given or taken away.)
  • Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya…
  • …Which is in the Montmeló area of Barcelona.
  • …(I say that as if I know the area.  I looked it up.  I like research.  It’s good stuff.)
  • …The circuit is 2.892mi (4.655km) in length.
  • …It is shaped like an overconfident tourist, flexing his shit for cameras at San Fermin, just before the final warning sounds and shit gets real with some very confused bulls.
  • …There are 16 turns.
  • …All run clockwise.
  • …Which is nice.
  • …There are 66 laps scheduled (for today).
  • …Which would bring the grand total distance to 190.826mi (307.104km)…
  • …If the task is completed.
  • …But, as usual, it must be noted that this is F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most of that will.
  • …Remember last year’s Spanish Grand Prix?
  • …When Hamilton and Rosberg (finally) took each other out…
  • …So, Paddy Lowe had to kill them…
  • …(Bygones)…
  • …And, Verstappen won…
  • …In his first race with Red Bull?
  • Tires!
  • …Today’s choices will be Softs (yellow), Mediums (white), and Hards (orange).
  • …With the moist track options of Intermediates (green) and Rains (blue) available.
  • …If needed.
  • …But, that’s not looking likely.
  • …As the forecast of rain has dissipated.
  • …In favor of 71ºF and sunny.
  • …With 8-ish mph winds.
  • Last year…
  • …Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the win.
  • …And, was accompanied by Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel (on the podium).
  • This year, the grid looks like this (with last year’s results)…
  • …#44 – Lewis Hamilton (GBR) – Mercedes (DNF) / #5 – Sebastian Vettel (DEU) – Ferrari (3)
  • …#77 – Valtteri Bottas (FIN) – Mercedes (5) / #7 – Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) – Ferrari (2)
  • …#33 – Max Verstappen (NLD) – Red Bull (1) / #3 – Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) – Red Bull (4)
  • …#14 – Fernando Alonso (ESP) – McLaren (DNF) / #11 – Sergio Perez (MEX) – Force India (7)
  • …#19 – Felipe Massa (BRA) – Williams (8) / #31 – Esteban Ocon (FRA) – Force India (N/A)
  • …#20 – Kevin Magnussen (DNK) – Haas (15-Renault) / #55 – Carlos Sainz, Jr. (ESP) – Toro Rosso (6)
  • …#27 – Nico Hülkenberg (DEU) – Renault (DNF-FI) / #8 – Romain Grosjean (FRA) – Haas (DNF)
  • …#94 – Pascal Wehrlein (DEU) – Sauber (16-Manor) / #9 – Marcus Ericsson (SWE) – Sauber (12)
  • …#30 – Jolyon Palmer (GBR) – Renault (13) / #18 – Lance Stroll (CAN) – Williams (N/A)
  • …#26 – Daniil Kvyat (RUS) – Toro Rosso (10) / #2 – Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) – McLaren* (N/A)
  • …*Vandoorne qualified 19th, but received a 10-place penalty.
  • …Any McLaren mechanical should just be classified as “McLaren-Honda” at this point.
  • Here we go!
  • Vettel takes the lead!
  • Ooo!
  • …Crashy stuff!
  • …It’s Kimi!
  • …And, a Red Bull!
  • And, we’re under a Yellow Flag.
  • Kimi’s left-front wheel is bent and sticking.
  • …(As he tries to get back to the pits.)
  • And, Verstappen (the Red Bull in question) is limping around the track.
  • …He’s radioing that his suspension is broken.
  • …So, that’s terminal.
  • Kimi had to pull off track.
  • …So, that’s two top drivers, out.
  • On replay…
  • …It appears that there was contact between Bottas and Räikkönen.
  • …But, honestly, it looks like another one of those squeezing incidents.
  • …Where there are just too many cars in the same place, as they round a turn.
  • …Kimi radioed that someone hit him from behind.
  • …Verstappen was waving his hand in rage.
  • …And, Bottas was on the inside, going about his business.
  • …Stewards have decided “no further action warranted”.
  • …Well, yeah…
  • …Both are out, and it was a racing incident.
  • …However, this little kid in the stands, in full Ferrari gear, has decided that this is the worst thing to ever happen.
  • …Seriously, the kid is in full meltdown.
  • …You can see his mom, pointing, trying to show him that Kimi’s fine…
  • …You can see that she’s saying, “Kimi”.
  • …I keep laughing at those shots, because I’m a dick.
  • …God, people love Kimi.
  • …Even little kids love him.
  • …Pity about those casualties, though.
  • …They had great starts.
  • Stewards have moved on…
  • …To investigating the possibility that Alonso forced his friend, Massa, off track.
  • …Massa is (currently) running last.
  • …There we go, no further action.
  • At Lap 14…
  • …Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Perez, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Grosjean, Wehrlein, and Ericsson in the top ten.
  • …(Yes, both Saubers, in the top ten.)
  • …(Let’s do this.)
  • …And, Kvyat, Magnussen, Sainz, Alonso, Stroll, Palmer, Vandoorne, and Massa (still) very much in it.
  • Um…
  • …Okay…
  • …So…
  • …You can’t race in pitlane.
  • …However…
  • …Magnussen and Sainz just did.
  • …They came in together.
  • …They were released at the same time.
  • …Aaannnddd…
  • …They decided racing was an okay idea.
  • …With Sainz (actually) going into the grass.
  • …You don’t see that every day.
  • …Because…um…you can’t do that.
  • …Stewards are investigating.
  • …And, things are shouty over the Haas radio.
  • …With Magnussen, the Viking, being the calm one.
  • …I think they’re upset with Sainz.
  • Vettel has pitted.
  • …With no pitlane racing.
  • At Lap 20…
  • …With a bit of pitting to make things weird…
  • …Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Wehrlein, Perez, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Magnussen, and Sainz in the top ten.
  • …And, Grosjean, Kvyat, Alonso, Stroll, Ericsson, Vandoorne, Palmer, and Massa (still) rolling.
  • …Unlike Verstappen and Räikkönen.
  • …Who are out.
  • …Again, lots of tire changes.
  • …So, take those standings with a grain of salt.
  • …(Insert clever ‘tire graining’ comment -here-.)
  • Hamilton pits.
  • …Bottas inherits the lead.
  • …Which should be considered a serious threat.
  • …As he just won at Russia.
  • …So, he could hold it.
  • Vettel is all over Bottas.
  • …Like, in the driving way.
  • …Not the usual, because Bottas is Finnish (and Vettel loves Finns) way.
  • …Man, this is brutal!
  • …This might not end well for anyone.
  • …Vettel get around Bottas.
  • …Without crashing.
  • …Which is nice.
  • …Oh, hey, that perked up the crying kid!
  • …That’s nice.
  • Hamilton passes Bottas.
  • …Bottas has yet to stop, by the way.
  • …Hamilton -could- take these tires to the end.
  • At Lap 27…
  • …Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Perez, Ocon, Wehrlein, Hülkenberg, Magnussen, and Sainz are in points positions.
  • …And, Grosjean, Kvyat, Alonso, Ericsson, Stroll, Vandoorne, Massa, and Palmer are (still) in it.
  • …(Maybe) not to win it.
  • …But, there’s a lot of race left, and there are (still) points to be grabbed.
  • Ericsson passes Alonso.
  • …No problem.
  • …Vettel loops them both.
  • …With no obstructions to yell about.
  • FYI…
  • …I just jumped at catching the reflection of my arm (while stretching) on my screen.
  • …Early morning races, man.
  • …Also, I’m jumpy.
  • I’m not saying the race is boring…
  • …It’s not.
  • …But, there’s just nothing to report at the moment.
  • …It happens.
  • Did you notice the changes on the cars?
  • …The three-letter name abbreviations were added to the “shark fins”.
  • …And, the numbers (on the front) were enlarged.
  • …Which is nice.
  • …Although, the positioning on the bend of the nose makes it a bit hard to see.
  • …On TV.
  • …(Maybe) it’s awesome in person.
  • Virtual Safety Car.
  • …Bad touch between Vandoorne and Massa.
  • …Massa carries on.
  • …This isn’t the first time he’s done this (with a McLaren) today.
  • …Vandoorne stops off track.
  • …That one was (all) on Vandoorne.
  • Lots of pitting.
  • Wehrlein has pitted.
  • …He was the final holdout.
  • …We (all) see what you’re doing, Sauber.
  • …And, I, for one, support it.
  • …They need some points.
  • Hamilton has pitted.
  • Back to Vandoorne and Massa…
  • …Massa gave some good hand waving there.
  • …And, Vandoorne (instantly) felt blame and shame.
  • …Radioing, very quietly, his apologies.
  • …He’s just learned a valuable lesson, there.
  • Vettel pits.
  • He exits alongside Hamilton.
  • Holy shit!!!
  • Clearly, Hamilton has blocked-out last year.
  • …As he’s just run into Vettel.
  • …Hamilton goes off.
  • …Briefly.
  • …But, they (both) carry on.
  • …Oh, dear god.
  • …Hamilton is radioing complaints.
  • …When it was he who dove in an around section.
  • …Is this where things get ugly?
  • Bottas is stopped!
  • …In a cloud.
  • …Replay shows him running just fine.
  • …Then, suddenly, this violent-pulling-of-a-zip-tie sound.
  • …And, he was in a cloud.
  • …Man, he jumped out quickly.
  • …God, that sucks.
  • …Shit day for Finland, man.
  • No further action on the Hamilton/Vettel matter?!
  • …What the goddamn fuck?
  • …No, really.
  • …That was so bad!
  • …There’s some careless shit going on today.
  • …They’re like those aforementioned San Fermin bull runners.
  • Hamilton has passed Vettel, by the way.
  • Wehrlein has been slapped with a five-second penalty.
  • …For…
  • …Sit down, and take a deep breath…
  • …Going in, rather than around at pit entry.
  • …Godfucking dammit.
  • Magnussen has requested radio quiet.
  • …A very calm, “Just let me drive.”.
  • …He’s Nordic.
  • …We’ve heard this before.
  • …Like, from Bottas, at Russia.
  • Oh!  Hey!
  • …That little kid (who freaked out over Kimi’s crash) was invited to go meet him!
  • …Oh, that’s nice.
  • …All smiles.
  • …It seemed to perk Kimi up, too.
  • …Remember, he’s got a little one at home…
  • …Celebrating Mothers’ Day, with Minttu…
  • …Who’s pretty close to welcoming their second mini…Kimtu?
  • …That’s what we do, now, isn’t it?
  • …Make up stupid combination names for every fucking duo.
  • …Anyhoo, that was (genuinely) nice to see.
  • I’m just going to toss this out there…
  • …If Hamilton and Vettel were to collide…
  • …Gently, but (mechanically) terminally…
  • …As it stands…
  • …It’s be a Ricciardo, Perez, Ocon podium.
  • …Just saying.
  • …I’d be willing to make some sacrifices for a greater good.
  • …(A win for Ricciardo, and two Force Indias on the podium.)
  • …(Admit it, it’d be rad.)
  • …Also, it’d keep Wehrlein (safely) in the points.
  • …Again, just saying.
  • …Also, Ericsson is in 12th.
  • …Just.  Saying.
  • At Lap 61…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Perez, and Ocon lead.
  • …(In a Kramer voice, “You got that right!”.)
  • …With Hülkenberg, Wehrlein, Sainz, Magnussen, and Kvyat in the points.
  • …And, Grosjean, Ericsson, Alonso, Stroll, Massa, and Palmer (still) racing hard.
  • P.S. If you missed it (earlier)…
  • …Toto Wolff did a Herman Munster celebrating thing…
  • …WITH a weird fist pound.
  • …The gang was (all) there.
  • …I vote for that as Driver of the Day.
  • Kvyat passes Magnussen.
  • What just happened, there?
  • …Grosjean passed Magnussen.
  • Oh!
  • …Oh, no!
  • …Magnussen has a puncture.
  • …He has to pit.
  • …At Lap 66/66.
  • …Oh, he got it in a bad touch with Kvyat.
  • Hamilton wins.
  • More importantly…
  • …Alonso finished…
  • …And, is flying a Spanish flag.
  • …Cue Starship…
  • …Because, nothing’s going to stop him from flying that.
  • Anyhoo…
  • …Hamilton wins.
  • …He’ll be joined on the podium by Vettel and Ricciardo.
  • …(This will be Ricciardo’s first podium this season – wrap yo’ noggin ’round that shit.)
  • …Perez and Ocon improve on ‘Thelma and Louise’ by flying into the end together in fourth and fifth.
  • …And, Hülkenberg, Wehrlein, Sainz, Kvyat, and Grosjean take some points home.
  • …Ericsson just falls out of the points (after a very promising drive), landing in 11th.
  • …Alonso wills his McLaren into 12th.
  • …And, Massa, Magnussen, Palmer, and Stroll complete the task.
  • …Just one of those weird, shitty days for Williams.
  • …They have those.
  • By the way…
  • …If you missed it…
  • …The Mercedes garage must be going for some new level of awkwardness.
  • …As Niki Lauda just pulled Bottas in for a hug.
  • …The feed went elsewhere, before we could see if they completed it.
  • …Another contender for Driver of the Day.
  • Note that, in the circuit caricature, (winner) Hamilton is joined by Roscoe.
  • Speaking of Hamilton…
  • …Is he okay?
  • …He was really quiet over the radio (through the race).
  • …Then, in the podium green room, he just sat there, with his helmet (still) on.
  • …Then, slowly, started removing things.
  • …Sat there some more.
  • …Finally got up.
  • …And, slowly, got a towel and some water.
  • …So…hurt or sick?
  • Vettel is your Driver of the Day.
  • …Not Wolff’s excitement.
  • …Or, the Lauda/Bottas hug.
  • …Or, that kid who loves Kimi.
  • Hey!!!
  • …Susie Wolff!!!
  • …Laughing with Toto, as always!!!
  • …This is her first trip with their new baby.
  • …(She’d posted a packing update to Instagram.)
  • …Baby Jack’s dad is an F1 boss.
  • …His mom’s an F1 driver.
  • …Damn, (maybe) she should have gotten Driver of the Day.
  • Pedro de la Rosa will be doing the podium interviews.
  • …Was it just me who thought that he’d be a reserve driver for Ferrari until the end of time?
  • …Yes?
  • …Okay.
  • Mercedes has sent their rear jack man to accept the team trophy.
  • …Apparently, it’s his birthday.
  • …So, that’s awesome.
  • …I do like the odd team trophy acceptance nominees.
  • …It’s a huge team endeavor, so why not give as many a go as possible?
  • de la Rosa straight-up asked Hamilton if his neck is okay.
  • …Yes, but the race (totally) drained him.
  • Just an update…
  • …With the five-second penalty…
  • …Wehrlein drops one place, to eighth.
  • …So, awesome job by Wehrlein and Sauber…
  • …Getting up there, going with that strategy, then managing that position…
  • …To preserve those points (with that penalty).
  • …Those were points well-earned for Sauber.
  • …And, it’s worth mentioning that Ericsson was running in the points for a good part of the race.
  • …Before getting lost in the pitting shuffle, and slipping behind.
  • …But, then, bouncing (back) up to 11th, and fighting to the end.
  • …So, after a rough start – and, delayed start for Wehrlein – we’re (finally) getting a glimpse of what they can do.
  • …So, yay.
  • But, can I revisit Force India for a moment?
  • …I mean…
  • …Boom.
  • …Pink power.
  • …They’re just doing their thing…
  • …Ocon’s (still) just getting the hang of things…
  • …Picking up points in every race…
  • …Keeping up with Perez…
  • …And, there they are.
  • …Fourth in the Constructors’ standings.
  • …With a massive lead over Toro Rosso.
  • Oh, and there’s Ocon.
  • …Oh, my god, you can tell his mind is being blown.
  • …Yeah, these guys are having a great time.
  • …Satisfied with where they are, accepting that they’re not in the race at the top, while (still) fighting for more.
  • …And, winding up racing at the top.
  • …Because, they -are- that good.
  • …Their team is that good.
  • …And, their car is that good.
  • I’d mentioned (a few races back) that it seems like Verstappen has (really) settled into his position as a leading driver…
  • …Really maturing not only in his driving, but (general) temperament.
  • …And, he’s just placed blame on a racing incident.
  • …Things got too tight around the turn…
  • …Bottas tapped Kimi, Kimi hit him, no one had anywhere to go, but out.
  • …So, though he was doing some hand waving after it happened…
  • …He’s learned to take a deep breath, review what happened, and take it as a lesson for future use.
  • …Which is all I wanted to see last year, when he was dabbling in (potentially destructive) defiance.
  • …Which could lead to a short career, either by fucking up, or people just not wanting to work with him.
  • …So, yay and yay and yay.
  • Kvyat!
  • …Kvyat hated his car.
  • …It wasn’t working for him at all (this weekend).
  • …And, he wasn’t holding back on the matter.
  • …He’d even said that he would rather start from pitlane (than the back row of the grid).
  • …He started 19th (after Vandoorne’s penalty bumped him to 20th).
  • …He finished ninth.
  • …Now, that’s a race.
  • …Ooo, and he’s got blisters on his hands to show!
  • Wehrlein!
  • …Oh, they (as a team) had decided on a one-stop yesterday.
  • …The plan was two, but he said he was up for a one-stop.
  • …So, he’s good physically, and not just ready to fight, but fight hard.
  • …This is what Sauber needed.
  • …This is (definitely) what Wehrlein needed.
  • …And, hopefully, Ericsson’s breakthrough moment isn’t too far away.
  • …I mean, today was a good fucking day (for them).
  • …Just keep going, guys.
  • Okay, well, that’s that.
  • Here are your Drivers’ Standings…
  • …Vettel – 104 / Hamilton – 98 / Bottas – 63 / Räikkönen – 49
  • …Ricciardo – 37 / Verstappen – 35 / Perez – 34 / Ocon – 19
  • …Massa – 18 / Sainz – 17 / Hülkenberg – 14 / Grosjean – 5
  • …Wehrlein – 4 / Magnussen – 4 / Kvyat – 4 / Ericsson – 0
  • …Stroll – 0 / Alonso – 0 / Giovinazzi – 0 / Palmer – 0
  • …Vandoorne – 0
  • And, here are your Constructors’ Standings…
  • …Mercedes – 161 / Ferrari – 153 / Red Bull – 72 / Force India – 53
  • …Toro Rosso – 21 / Williams – 18 / Renault – 14 / Haas – 9
  • …Sauber – 4 / McLaren – 0
  • Next up…
  • …I mean…
  • …Yeah…
  • …It’s Monaco.
  • …Ooohhh, Monaco.
  • …I love Monaco.
  • …Like, so…hard.
  • …I’m getting excited, just typing this.
  • …Okay, getting my shit together…
  • …Memorial Day weekend…
  • …Now, remember, the schedule is different for Monaco.
  • …They run Practice 1 and 2 on Thursday.
  • …With Friday being dedicated to schmoozing.
  • …(They run the annual charity fashion show and such.)
  • …So, unless things are running differently this year, it will kick off on Thursday, May 25th.
  • …With the race on the 28th.
  • …Also of note…
  • …It is (also) the Indy 500 (that weekend).
  • …Remember that Alonso will be in Indy.
  • …And, that Button will be taking his place (in Monaco).
  • …Got all that?
  • …Monaco!!!
  • Okay, yeah, I’m cool.
  • …I’m fine.
  • …Not at all like that little Kimi fan.
  • Bygones.
  • See you in Monaco!
  • …(Monaco!!!!!!!)

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF RUSSIA (28.4.2017 – 30.4.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning!
  • It’s…
  • …Time…
  • …For…
  • …The…
  • …Russian…
  • …Grand…
  • …Prix!
  • See what I did there?
  • …A little homage to one of the most awesome pieces of kitsch in the universe.
  • …Matryoshka dolls.
  • …Also known as Russian nesting dolls.
  • …Who loves them?
  • …I love them!
  • Bygones.
  • Let’s do this.
  • The 2017 Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix…
  • …Which is being broadcast live (in the US) on NBCSN.
  • …After soccer conflicts, kicking earlier action over to CNBC.
  • …Anyhoo…
  • …The Sochi Autodrom…
  • …Which is a street circuit.
  • …Something worth a reminder, as, unlike most street circuits, it’s very wide.
  • …Lined with palm trees…
  • …And, situated between the (absurdly scenic) Caucasus Mountains and Black sea.
  • …Taking drivers around the old Winter Olympics complex.
  • …For 3.634mi (5.848km)…
  • …Around 18 turns…
  • …(Run clockwise)…
  • …Over 53 laps…
  • …Which will bring the total distance goal to 192.467mi (309.745km).
  • …And, if you’re wondering about that wording…
  • …It’s because this is F1…
  • …Anything can happen…
  • …And, most of it will.
  • Today’s tire choices are Ultrasofts (purple), Supersofts (red), and Softs (yellow).
  • …With Intermediates (green) and Rains (blue) always available, should the weather turn.
  • …Which it’s not looking to (today).
  • …As it is 74F and sunny, with light 7mph winds (in Sochi).
  • …(Add 12000 degrees for the track temperature).
  • Last year, the podium looked like this…
  • …1 – Nico Rosberg (DEU) – Mercedes
  • …2 – Lewis Hamilton (GBR) – Mercedes
  • …3 – Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) – Ferrari
  • …With Bottas, Massa, Alonso, Magnussen (with Renault), Grosjean, Perez, Jenson Button (McLaren), Ricciardo, Sainz, Palmer, Ericsson, Kvyat (with Red Bull), Felipe Nasr (Sauber), Esteban Gutierrez (Haas), Wehrlein (Manor) rounding out the fortunate finishers.
  • …And, Rio Haryanto (Manor), Hülkenberg (with Force India), Vettel, and Verstappen (with Toro Rosso) coming up a little less fortunate.
  • And, this year, the grid looks like this…
  • …Sebastian Vettel (DEU) – Ferrari / Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) – Ferrari
  • …Valtteri Bottas (FIN) – Mercedes / Lewis Hamilton (GBR) – Mercedes
  • …Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) – Red Bull / Felipe Massa (BRA) – Williams
  • …Max Verstappen (NLD) – Red Bull / Nico Hülkenberg (DEU) – Renault
  • …Sergio Perez (MEX) – Force India / Esteban Ocon (FRA) – Force India
  • …Lance Stroll (CAN) – Williams / Daniil Kvyat (RUS) – Toro Rosso
  • …Kevin Magnussen (DNK) – Haas / Carlos Sainz, Jr. (ESP) – Toro Rosso*
  • …Fernando Alonso (ESP) – McLaren / Jolyon Palmer (GBR) – Renault
  • …Pascal Wehrlein (DEU) – Sauber / Marcus Ericsson (SWE) – Sauber
  • …Romain Grosjean (FRA) – Haas / Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) – McLaren**
  • …*Sainz Quaified 11th, but is serving a three-place penalty (for causing a collision with Stroll, in Bahrain)
  • …**Vandoorne Qualified 17th, but is serving a (silly as fuck) 15-place penalty (for a power unit swap – yes, already)
  • Aborted start.
  • …Alonso’s McLaren has died.
  • …Already, yes.
  • …He’s not happy.
  • …Not much to say about that, is there?
  • Here we go!
  • Bottas shoots to the front!
  • Oh!
  • Stuff!
  • Stroll’s been spun around!
  • …Yes, again.
  • …Stop hitting him, everyone!  Oh, my god!
  • Oh!
  • Grosjean’s crashed!
  • With Palmer?!
  • That looked icky.
  • They’re (both) okay.
  • …But, that’s a lot of debris.
  • On replay…
  • …Grosjean nailed the inside rumbles a bit too hard…
  • …Nailed Palmer…
  • …Turning the Renault (back) into the Haas…
  • …And, sending them (both) flying.
  • And, it was The Incredible Hülkenberg who spun Stroll.
  • …(Who was able to keep going.)
  • …(It was a Ferris Bueller, “I didn’t hit you, I lightly slapped you” thing.)
  • If you’re wondering how Bottas shot to the front…
  • …Bottas has (always) been freakishly good at starts.
  • …It was (only) a matter of time before he figured out that Mercedes…
  • …And, got a solid reading on the starts of those three World Champions surrounding him.
  • Ricciardo is having issues with his right-rear wheel.
  • …He’s puttering around…
  • …Blessing the track with his grey pixie dust.
  • …They’re calling him in…
  • …They’re hosing the right-rear with an extinguisher.
  • …Yep, they’re calling it.
  • …That’s just not right.
  • …So, I guess Massa and Verstappen are free of that apartment challenge.
  • …If you missed it, Ricciardo challenged those two, who live in the same building (in Monaco), but in much bigger units, to a trade – the one finishing last having to live in Ricciardo’s place.
  • …Which…what’s going on, there?
  • …Is he just kept in a cage, in a broom closet, between races?
  • …Anyway, they’re in the clear.
  • Okay, so, at Lap 8 (of 52, because of that false start)…
  • …It’s Bottas, Vettel, Räikkönen, and Hamilton on top.
  • …With Verstappen, Massa, Perez, Ocon, Hülkenberg, and Magnussen running in the top 10.
  • …And, Sainz, Kvyat, Stroll, Vandoorne, Wehrlein, and Ericsson (still) very much in it.
  • Race control has slapped Magnussen with a five-second penalty (for Lap 1 shenanigans).
  • …Haas has instructed him to “settle down”, that he’s doing well and they’ll figure it out.
  • Meanwhile, Vettel has radioed with concern over Bottas’ freak-ass, gigantic lead.
  • …(Seriously, the gap is going between 3.5 and 4 seconds.)
  • …Just wondering if there’s any untapped power to be extracted.
  • A little chat with Alonso…
  • …Who has recovered, and is (now) smiling, laughing, and moving forward.
  • …Because, you don’t have a career that long by being a total turd.
  • …You’d be flushed quite quickly.
  • …Either by people, not wanting to work with you, or by your (own) stress.
  • Hamilton is having a little freak-out.
  • …Radioing concerns with overheating.
  • …Saying that “he’s out of the race”.
  • …They’ve assured him that it’s an issue up and down the grid.
  • …Which, it appears to be.
  • The Bottas/Vettel gap has been exceeding 4.5, by the way.
  • …Room for more “t”s, if you’d like.
  • …Mr. T, maybe.
  • …They should put Mr. T out there.
  • …I pity the foo’ who doesn’t.
  • Hamilton’s caged animal radio calls continue.
  • …Toto (Wolff) and Niki (Lauda) should get on the radio and tell Lewis that there’s no problem…
  • …That “it’s just because you’re so hot”.
  • …It’s worth a shot.
  • …SO worth a shot.
  • …(For my personal amusement.)
  • The Bottas/Vettel gap has been between 5 and 5.5+.
  • …So much room for Mr. T.
  • …Seriously, though.
  • …It looks like that time Sébastien Loeb waltzed on into the X-Games, was so far ahead that the camera lost him, and waltzed on out with a win.
  • …Almost.
  • …I mean, that was ridiculous.
  • …Ridiculous/how Loeb rolls.
  • At Lap 22, there’s a bit of pitting.
  • …Teams are pretty much on the same, one-stop, strategy.
  • So…
  • …Sauber’s going to Honda engines (next season), eh?
  • …My initial reaction (to hearing that) was, well, recoiling in horror.
  • …However, hearing that they’ve been using engines that have been incompatible with their designs, and that Honda think they could make their “Laverne & Shirley” dreams come true…
  • …It’s not like they’d see a confuddling performance drop (like with McLaren/Alonso/Button).
  • …They’re more prepared to deal with the downs.
  • …This is where Honda should have reentered.
  • Ocon radios for a stop.
  • …Man, that kid’s been great.
  • …Just going about his business, very quietly, learning the car, being competitive, but playing nice.
  • …And, coming in 10th every race, collecting valuable points.
  • Bottas pits.
  • …It’s good.
  • …He reenters in fourth.
  • Ferrari’s keeping Vettel out.
  • Kimi’s radioing with bad tires.
  • If they’re smart, they’ll have kept Vettel out to get Kimi in.
  • …Then, get Vettel in.
  • Vettel is calling for…
  • …You’ve got it…
  • …Blue Flags.
  • Hamilton pits.
  • Everyone around Vettel has pitted.
  • …Vettel’s tires would be the newest.
  • …Get.  Him.  In.
  • …I know Vettel’s good with tires.
  • …And, yes, I get the strategy (no mansplaining needed – Jane get numbers, Jane have brain).
  • …But, come on.
  • …There’s no need to push it (at this point).
  • At Lap 33…
  • …Vettel, Bottas, Räikkönen, and Hamilton lead.
  • …Verstappen, Hülkenberg, Massa, Perez, Ocon, and Sainz round-out the top ten.
  • …Stroll, Kvyat, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Ericsson, and Wehrlein, remain, sniffing for blood.
  • Ferrari call Vettel to “box”.
  • Ferrari call Vettel to stay out.
  • What the fuck, Ferrari?
  • “Box, now, Sebastian.”
  • Oh, look, they meant it (this time).
  • …A 3.4 stop.
  • …Vettel comes out, just behind Bottas.
  • …(Just ahead of Kimi, filling Bottas’ mirrors with red.)
  • Just a note…
  • …Stroll is running in 11th.
  • …He’s been getting an absurd amount of crap, calls for ditching him, etc.
  • …Despite strong performances…
  • …Prior to other people, running into him, et al.
  • …Honestly, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
  • …All the time.
  • …Like, seriously, am I watching a (totally) different sport (from everyone else)?
  • …I see a grid of guys, busting their asses, doing their best, in spite of the billion elements they have going against them.
  • …A grid of other drivers.
  • …Having good days, having bad days.
  • …Behind the wheels of cars, full of components that could fail.
  • …All (drivers and cars) having some tracks that just don’t work for what they’re running.
  • …But, I guess I’m just crazy (for giving everyone the benefits of the doubt, for pulling for everyone – usually – I’ll voice concerns and aggravations), eh?
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg pits.
  • …After an incredible 41 laps.
  • At Lap 43…
  • …Bottas, Vettel, Räikkönen, and Hamilton lead.
  • …As Verstappen, Perez, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Massa, and Sainz round-out the top-ten.
  • …And, Stroll, Kvyat, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Ericsson, and Wehrlein hold on.
  • Bottas has (very politely) requested less talking (over the radio).
  • …It’s focus time.
  • …Also, he’s Finnish.
  • The Bottas/Vettel gap is down to 1.74-ish seconds.
  • …+/- fractions.
  • Ferrari has radioed Vettel to put pressure on Bottas.
  • …To, kid you not, if you didn’t hear it, see if he can instigate an error.
  • …I mean, okay.
  • …Yeah.
  • …Anyhoo…
  • There’s Putin.
  • …Who may/may not be the President of the US.
  • …I’m not (entirely) sure how this is working.
  • …Bygones.
  • Verstappen radios with Turn 5 debris.
  • …Always a great thing to hear in the closing laps.
  • …Like, you can just see that little shit causing big chaos at the front.
  • Ooohhh, shit, sir!
  • …Vettel has closed in on Bottas.
  • …He’s lingering +/- 1 second.
  • …Under 1 = DRS free-for-all.
  • …He’s all over Bottas.
  • …They’re hitting major traffic.
  • …If Bottas wants to hold his lead, get his first F1 win…
  • …He HAS to gun it, right here, right now.
  • …And, (all) the slower cars have got to play nice and move over.
  • …Bottas glides by Massa.
  • …Vettel…does not!
  • …Bottas is getting away!
  • …He’s going to do it!
  • …Final turn!
  • BOTTAS WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • BOTTAS WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • THIS IS NOT A TEST!!!
  • BOTTAS HAS WON THE RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX!!!
  • Once, again, Finland has conquered Russia!
  • …(Yep, had to.)
  • Bottas’ response?
  • …”Fuck me.”, and, “It took long enough”.
  • …With thanks to the entire team.
  • …Because, he’s Valtteri Bottas.
  • …Finn, at large.
  • Oh!  Yes!  Everyone else…
  • …Vettel and Räikkönen will join the podium fun.
  • …So, Vettel get to surround himself with Finns, which is nice.
  • …With Hamilton and Verstappen, completing the top-five.
  • …And, Perez, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Massa, and Sainz, rounding-out the top-ten.
  • …Ocon, improving upon his string of tenth-place finishes.
  • …As Stroll, Kvyat, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Ericsson, and Wehrlein add more positive experience to their resumés.
  • …Yes, Stroll (finally) finished, even surviving a hit.
  • …And, yes, Vandoorne’s McLaren crossed the finish line.
  • People…
  • …Going back to wondering if I’m watching something different, or taking crazy pills…
  • …If you thought that race was boring…
  • …Eh…yeah…I’m just going to say it…
  • …Go fuck yourself.
  • …Seriously.
  • …If you’re bored, it’s you that’s boring.
  • …And, remember, no one’s forcing you to watch.
  • Anyway…
  • NBCSN talk of Kimi, being the hero in Finland (over Bottas).
  • …I need to add that Finns -do- have a thing about more bad-boy types.
  • …They put the Dudesons on a stamp.
  • …Just saying.
  • That is a lot of chatting with Putin.
  • …Remember, last year, when he ignored everyone, and just hung out with Kimi?
  • …He fucking loves Kimi.
  • …This is so weird, given political history.
  • …And, yet, not.
  • …He seems to be enjoying this whole group.
  • …Which works, because, that group enjoys that group, too.
  • …Vettel knows Finns aren’t big on being touched.
  • …But, he just can’t keep his hands off them.
  • …They’re just so precious!
  • Podium…
  • …So, those are two Finnish flags.
  • …And, that is the Finnish national anthem.
  • …Bottas is drinking the shit out of that champagne.
  • …Vettel’s going to help him.
  • …Photo op…
  • …Note that the Finns aren’t too close.
  • …My great-great grandma emigrated from Finland to Sweden.
  • …Because of personal space.
  • …Bygones.
  • …Bottas…
  • …Is Finnish.
  • …The win feels “amazing”, but, let’s review how long it took.
  • …And, go team.
  • …Vettel tosses the focus (back) to Bottas, noting that it’s his day.
  • …The crowd goes wild for Kimi.
  • …As they (always) do.
  • …And, he’s giving them pure, classic Kimi.
  • …Third sucks, but okay; we need to improve.
  • …And, the crowd goes goddamn wild.
  • …As Kimi continues to show off just how much wider he is than everyone (else).
  • …And, Eddie Jordan keeps pressuring Toto to extend Bottas’ (one-year) contract.
  • …An understandable move, given the quick decision, not knowing how he’d respond, etc.
  • …But, he’s responded.
  • …He’s Bottas, behind the wheel of a car on par with his talent.
  • …Who seems to be working very well with Hamilton (another huge concern, after years of toxicity with Rosberg).
  • …So, yeah, let’s extend that shit.
  • Sorry, I was just flipping through Twitter.
  • …So many congrats, coming from so many drivers and teams (Grosjean, Alonso, Renault, everyone).
  • …Like when he got his first pole.
  • …Everyone knows his talent, everyone’s experienced his respectful racing, and he’s made an impact as a decent guy.
  • …So, yeah, people are happy for him.
  • Chat with Massa…
  • …Ha!
  • …I love it!
  • …On the matter of Vettel, struggling to get around him (in that closing lap, in a tricky spot)…
  • …He, first, notes that Vettel has a lot of complaints about a lot of people in those situations.
  • …Then, he mentions that he was never going to catch Bottas, anyway.
  • …Before going on to express just how happy he is for him, and that, having been his teammate, he knows just how capable he is, and that this is just the first of many.
  • …Which crossed my mind – that Massa, coming out of retirement, got to see his junior teammate (finally) get this (first) win.
  • …And, you know what?
  • …Massa rocked it (today), too.
  • …He’s rocked it all season, starting right off the bat (with pre-season testing).
  • …Williams should take note, keep an eye on things, and (if all continues on this path), consider swaying him into a little career extension.
  • …Oh, everyone knows he (only) retired because he was being edged out by new kids.
  • …And, that he (still) had years in him.
  • Grosjean and Palmer are doing some finger pointing.
  • …I’ll help you…
  • …Sorry, Romain, but you went too far in.
  • …However, the main culprit was a racing incident.
  • …Palmer got sandwiched.
  • …And, when Grosjean hit him, the impact turned his car inward.
  • …Then, again, had it gone the other way, Grosjean (probably) would have been caught by the rear.
  • …So, initially caused by Grosjean (as Palmer worded it, just being “too ambitious”).
  • …But, (quickly) spiraling into a crowed racing incident.
  • Lots of smiling from Perez.
  • …Okay, I think Perez should be higher up.
  • …But, given where the Force India is (right now), and the ridiculous competition at the front…
  • …He’s rocking it.
  • …And, so is his rookie teammate.
  • …Silly McLaren, throwing him away, rather than just giving him the punch in the face Kimi said he needed.
  • …Now, look.
  • …He’s had years of kicking ass.
  • …And, he put a hex on McLaren.
  • …Wait.
  • …What?
  • Hülkenberg!
  • …Laughing at his 41 laps on the same tires.
  • …You know what?
  • …He’s doing great.
  • …Renault’s doing great.
  • …They know where they stand, that they’re in an uphill battle, trying to get (back) to where they were before the Lotus collapse (a few seasons back).
  • …And, he’s The Incredible Hülkenberg.
  • …Have I ever, in all the seasons I’ve been doing this, been anything short of scarily confident when it comes to Hülkenberg’s abilities?
  • …He knew where the teams could fall.
  • …But, he was at a point at which he just really wanted that factory seat experience.
  • …You have to remember that, high-stakes as F1 is, these are humans…
  • …And, there’s more to life than strategic moves.
  • …I have no concerns.
  • …He’ll not only get that podium…
  • …I think he’ll get that win.
  • Quick, “one question”, with Bottas…
  • …Who called Buxton out on his five-in-one.
  • …He hit it.
  • …He’s never doubted his ability, but (finally) getting that first win confirmed it.
  • …Now, if he can get past that stupid second-win barrier, he’ll be the force he’s been building up to be.
  • …Also, I’m all over Bottas’ explanation for his call for radio silence.
  • …That it was nice, like at home, quiet.
  • …(Insert “Peanuts”‘ Sally hearts -here-.)
  • …And, his English self-corrections (“sheck…checkered flag”, etc).
  • …As much as I babble (here), I don’t speak much.
  • …My goal is to go unnoticed.
  • …So, as much as I love languages, I’ve never been able to speak any (other than English), because screwing up is, now joke, one of my worst fears.
  • …Yeah, so, I appreciate hearing those.
  • …And, honestly, I’m (always) so blown away by all these guys.
  • …I was reading an Instagram post from Grosjean (yesterday), and just (really) geeking out over how perfectly placed his commas and parentheses were.  I love it.  It’s (seriously) one of the coolest things.  Also, I’m shockingly uncool.
  • Lance Stroll!
  • …All smiles!
  • …As he should be.
  • …Hopefully, this will mark the end of his weird start.
  • …The kid’s got some speed.
  • …Let’s see what he can do.
  • Sorry, I got distracted for a second.
  • …Ueli Steck died.
  • …In an accident, around Camp II (on Everest).
  • …He was last seen, on his own (not unusual, for the multiple speed-climbing record holder).
  • …Why is this article reporting collecting “…scattered parts of the climber’s body”?
  • …What the hell happened?
  • …Jesus.
  • …That’s a dark way to kick off the Spring Everest season.
  • …(This is the first death.)
  • …Steck’s the one who got into a fight with sherpas (a few years ago).
  • …But, that was a bunch of silliness, and now is not the time to dwell on that.
  • …He’s a massive figure in mountaineering.
  • …Always a fixture on Everest.
  • …Where he was set to continue trying to figure out a new route (there are two main routes, with other options having yet to be successfully established).
  • …So, if you’re not into mountaineering, fyi, this is massive (bad) news.
  • Okay…
  • Back to F1…
  • Driver’s Championship standings!
  • …Vettel – 86 / Hamilton – 73 / Bottas – 63 / Räikkönen – 49
  • …Verstappen – 35 / Ricciardo – 22 / Perez – 22 / Massa – 18
  • …Sainz – 11 / Ocon – 9 / Hülkenberg – 6 / Grosjean – 4
  • …Magnussen – 4 / Kvyat – 2
  • …Wehrlein / Stroll / Giovinazzi / Palmer / Vandoorne / Alonso / Ericsson – 0
  • Constructors’ Championship standings!
  • …Mercedes – 136 / Ferrari – 135 / Red Bull – 57 / Force India – 31
  • …Williams – 18 / Toro Rosso – 13 / Haas – 8 / Renault – 6
  • …Sauber / McLaren – 0
  • Okay, well, that’s that (for Russia).
  • Next up…
  • …A break.
  • …Then, kicking off on May 12th…
  • …Oh, hey, that’s my…yeah…
  • …The Spanish Grand Prix.
  • …Where, in 2016, teen queen (?) Max Verstappen took his maiden F1 win.
  • …Just hours before my grandma (the holder of those weirdly strong Finnish genes) died.
  • …Bygones (seriously, I appreciate getting to remember it as the day Verstappen got that win)…
  • …So, get (all) those bullfighting/bull run/Ferdinand/etc analogies ready!
  • I am off to catch the WRC Rally Argentina Power Stage.
  • …A mere .6 seconds separates M-Sport/DMACK’s Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul.
  • …With Ott Tänak/Martin Jarveoja right behind, waiting for slip-ups.
  • …Which Neuville has done in an Argentinian Power Stage.
  • …So, it’s all very Gene Wilder-as-Willy Wonka.
  • …Anyhoo, it will be yet another new Rally Argentina winner, since Loeb’s domination.
  • …And, this would be Evans’ (long-awaited) first win.
  • …Again, I respond in the style of Gene Wilder-as-Willy Wonka.
  • …It’s a truly amazing weekend for F1 and WRC.
  • Okay.
  • Amazing day, Herra Bottas.
  • …I’m a quietly contained explosion of Finnish pride.
  • Russia…
  • …Whatever the political grossness, you’re wonderfully weird, and you throw one hell of a Grand Prix, involving several of my favorite things (mountains, inland seas, nesting dolls, and Russian…almost everything) – thank you.
  • And, if you happen to be on Everest (or, any mountain)…
  • …Just be smart.
  • …It’s a two-way trip, you know.
  • …Base to summit to base.
  • …Use extra caution, remembering that your brain functions differently at high altitudes.
  • …As does your body.
  • …I know, these can be “once in a lifetime” shots.
  • …But…remember that the purpose is to experience nature and challenge yourself…
  • …Not conquer a mountain and kill yourself on descent, etc.
  • …Okay?
  • Oh, and, NBCSN’s Will Buxton…
  • …High-five on completing last weekend’s London Marathon!
  • …(Which he did for charity, in honor of his dad, who he lost last year.)
  • Cool.
  • (Bottas won!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • See you in Spain!
  • …(Not, you know, actually.  I have to work.  And, I’ve never, actually, gone anywhere.  So, yeah.)

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF BAHRAIN (14.4.2017 – 16.4.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning!
  • Holy cripes, am I running late.
  • Okay.
  • So.
  • This is the 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
  • And, it is being broadcast (in the US) on CNBC.
  • Let’s get to it, shall we?
  • (Sorry for the haste.  100% my own fault.  I was looking at this morning’s F1 tweets.)
  • Bahrain International Circuit…
  • …Sakhir, Bahrain.
  • …3.363mi (5.412km) in length…
  • …Shaped like a duck, flexing at itself…
  • …(Happy Easter, to those who do.)…
  • …15 turns…
  • …Run clockwise…
  • …For 57 laps…
  • …Which will bring the goal total distance to 191.530mi (308.238km)…
  • …Keeping in mind, as always, that this -is- F1…
  • …Anything, and everything, can, and will, happen.
  • Today’s tire options are…
  • …Supersofts (red)
  • …Softs (yellow)
  • …And, Mediums (white).
  • …As always, Intermediates (green) and Rains (blue) will be available as needed.
  • …But, it’s looking like a quite sunny 79F.
  • …(Ooo – 23mph winds at the airport?  Watch for sandblasting, dudes.)
  • …So, yeah.
  • The 2016 podium looked a little/lot/exactly like this…
  • …1 – Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (DEU)
  • …2 – Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (FIN)
  • …3 – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
  • Today’s Starting Grid looks like this…
  • …#77 – Valtteri Bottas – FIN – Mercedes / #44 – Lewis Hamilton – GBR – Mercedes
  • …#5 – Sebastian Vettel – DEU – Ferrari / #3 – Daniel Ricciardo – AUS – Red Bull
  • …#7 – Kimi Räikkönen – FIN – Ferrari / #33 – Max Verstappen – NLD – Red Bull
  • …#27 – Nico Hülkenberg – DEU – Renault / #19 – Felipe Massa – BRA – Williams
  • …#8 – Romain Grosjean – FRA – Haas / #30 – Jolyon Palmer – GBR – Renault
  • …#26 – Daniil Kvyat – RUS – Toro Rosso / #18 – Lance Stroll – CAN – Williams
  • …#94 – Pascal Wehrlein – DEU – Sauber / #31 – Esteban Ocon – FRA – Force India
  • …#14 – Fernando Alonso – ESP – McLaren / #55 – Carlos Sainz (Jr.) – ESP – Toro Rosso
  • …#2 – Stoffel Vandoorne – BEL – McLaren* / #11 – Sergio Perez – MEX – Force India
  • …#9 – Marcus Ericsson – SWE – Sauber / #20 – Kevin Magnussen – DNK – Haas
  • …*Vandoorne will not start (super-fun pre-race total power unit failure).
  • Here.  We.  Go!
  • Bottas holds the lead.
  • …Reminder: this was Bottas’ first F1 Pole.
  • …I know; crazy, right?
  • Vettel jumps Hamilton.
  • Kimi falls way back.
  • …Jumped by Ricciardo and (his BFF) Massa.
  • Kvyat runs off.
  • …And, (back) on.
  • Verstappen puts in Fastest Lap.
  • …Because…of course he did.
  • If you look at the trees (in the wise shots), you’ll (really) notice how strong the winds are.
  • These 2017 cars are (already) beasts.
  • …Just add wind.
  • …Like gremlins.
  • …With a different element.
  • …That is not fire.
  • …Hopefully.
  • This was the first time since 2008 that a Finn has started on Pole.
  • …And, it wasn’t Kimi.
  • …It was Heikki Kovalainen.
  • Also, this was the first time since 1892 that both Renault/Lotus cars have started in the top 10.
  • …Just trust me on that date.
  • …At Lap 10, The Incredible Hülkenberg is in eighth, with Palmer in 13th.
  • …Hey, it’s a long race, with ridiculous competition.
  • …Stay tuned.
  • Magnussen parks his Haas, just off track.
  • …(So, Local Yellow.)
  • …No bueno.
  • At Lap 11…
  • …Ah, fuck it.
  • …Vettel just pitted and ruined it (all).
  • …Jerk.
  • At Lap 12…
  • …Verstappen pits, and ruins more.
  • …Well, whatever…
  • …This is how it looks, while we wait to see where those two wander to…
  • Never mind…
  • …Verstappen crashed, just after release.
  • …Total brake failure.
  • …Oh, he is fucking pissed!
  • …As he should be.
  • …He was tailgating the front.
  • Jesus.
  • …(Happy Easter.)
  • …Stroll is stopped on track.
  • …Reporting that he was hit.
  • …As a shot of Sainz, parked against a wall, is shown.
  • Replay!
  • Wow!
  • …That was a hit and a half!
  • …That was an incredible “thud”.
  • …With a lot of debris.
  • …The NBCSN crew is bringing up that Maldonado/Gutierrez crash a few years ago.
  • …When Maldonado caught Gutierrez’s Sauber, and flipped it (with those Lotus tusks – remember those?).
  • …Which, on replay, as much as everyone loved to slam Maldonado, looked like Gutierrez was the one who came around that tight pit exit corner behind (and, into) the wider-turning Maldonado.
  • …And, that’s what it looked like (here).
  • …Stroll came in wide and in, with Sainz coming in tight, from behind.
  • …Honestly, I don’t see how Stroll could have seen Sainz.
  • …Which, Sainz -did- mention (that he doesn’t think Stroll could see him).
  • …Gottas what those turns, kids.
  • Ooo – look at that Toro Rosso, being hoisted up, in the wind!
  • …Yikes!
  • Okay, game (back) on.
  • …With lots of new tires (after that Safety Car period).
  • Grosjean is radioing with a loss of power.
  • …Remember, Magnussen’s Haas crapped out earlier.
  • Alonso is flying.
  • …Like he’s in anything other than a McHonda.
  • …Getting shit done, before heading to the Indy 500 (next month).
  • Five-second penalty for Hamilton.
  • …Driving unnecessarily slowly in the pitlane.
  • …And, getting in Ricciardo’s way (while doing it).
  • …Is this a first for Hamilton.
  • …He gets away with everything.
  • …Bygones.
  • Hey, let’s try this (again)…
  • At Lap 20…
  • …It’s Vettel, Bottas, Hamilton, and Massa on top.
  • …With Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Perez, Hülkenberg, Grosjean, and Ocon in the top ten.
  • …And, Alonso, Palmer, Ericsson, Kvyat, and Wehrlein (still) in it.
  • …(Welcome back, Pascal – yes, with the whole “Welcome Back, Kotter” theme.)
  • …Magnussen, Verstappen, Stroll, and Sainz remain (very much) out.
  • Kimi passes Massa (for fifth).
  • …If anyone was wondering if F1 was all about the kids these days.
  • …Nope.
  • “I’ve never raced with less power in my life!”
  • …Guess the driver.
  • …If you guessed Alonso, you would be correct.
  • …Though, technically, he -is- in the more powerful McHonda (today).
  • …Because, you know, Vandoorne couldn’t even start, as his power unit was dead.
  • Local Yellow.
  • …Debris.
  • Hamilton passes Bottas.
  • …Looking to compensate for that penalty time.
  • The F1 app is “…experiencing connection issues from the track…”
  • …Now is not the time, dudes.
  • Okay, eyeballs 100% to the TV.
  • At Lap 31…
  • …Vettel, Hamilton, Räikkönen, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Bottas has juuust pitted, if you’re wondering.
  • Timing is (back) up!
  • Grosjean pits.
  • …It’s quick, he’s released.
  • …Which is worth noting, given his earlier power concerns.
  • Kimi is yelling about something.
  • …Ending with, “…it’s really disturbing.”.
  • …Agreed.
  • Vettel radios with tire concerns.
  • …Ferrari’s crew (promptly) prepares.
  • …Vettel pits.
  • …2.7 stop.
  • At Lap 34…
  • …Hamilton, Räikkönen, Vettel, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Bottas, Massa, Perez, Hülkenberg, Ocon, and Kvyat in the top ten.
  • …And, Alonso, Palmer, Grosjean, Wehrlein, and Ericsson (still) running on hope.
  • Vettel is coming up on Kimi.
  • …This will be a drama-free move.
  • …Because, they’re good like that.
  • …Yep, Kimi scoots over a bit, and lets his teammate F1 BFF by.
  • …Fun fact: Ferrari head Sergio Marchionne feels he needs to have a chat with Kimi.
  • …Over his performances.
  • …Running at the top, in the mix of other powerhouses, in the first two races.
  • …Yeah.
  • …Hey, how about a chat about shutting the fuck up and letting (all) your experts do their jobs?
  • …Seriously.
  • …I cannot be the only one who has far-beyond had it with the way Ferrari “operates”.
  • …It’s disgusting.
  • …Another fun fact: their failures are not down to the drivers, or lead personnel, they’ve hired (over the years).
  • …Bygones.
  • …It’s not worth the frustration.
  • At Lap 41…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …(Bottas JUST passed Kimi, as I was typing.)
  • …With Ricciardo, Massa, Perez, Grosjean, Kvyat, and Hülkenberg in the points.
  • …Ocon, Wehrlein, Alonso, Ericsson, and Palmer remain (very much) in the mix.
  • Earlier, in a radio exchange (involving the possibility of going to “Plan B”), Alonso told his team, “Do whatever you want, man.”.
  • …Because, he’s Fernando Alonso, man.
  • Toro Rosso bumped tires (during Kvyat’s stop).
  • …Which shouldn’t happen.
  • …But, it’s race three with the new (giant) tires.
  • …So, continue to excuse the learning curve.
  • …Nothing happened.
  • …It’s just an interesting detail.
  • …Hamilton served his five-second penalty, by the way.
  • …During a pit stop.
  • …So, from here on, what you see (in the standings) is what you get.
  • I have to pee.
  • …Really badly.
  • …No one crash, okay?
  • …I heard that Hamilton was setting fastest times, and yelled “shut up”, as I was walking out of the bathroom.
  • …FYI.
  • …Sorry.
  • Hamilton passes Bottas.
  • …No, that wasn’t me, saying, “Shit.”.
  • …That was someone (else), who isn’t me.
  • Vettel has looped, and is (now) in the tail mix.
  • …Blue Flags are-a-wavin’.
  • …Palmer moves over.
  • Radio to Hamilton: “It’s (all) going to happen at the end.”
  • …As I say, at the same time as NBCSN’s David Hobbs, “What’s going to happen at the end?”.
  • …Echoing much of the viewing world, I suspect.
  • Vettel passes Ericsson.
  • …No drama, whatsoever.
  • …No weird, dirty revolting at the end.
  • …As we saw too many times last year.
  • …Much of it from Gutierrez, actually.
  • Aw, Ericsson is pulling over.
  • …”I give up, it’s broken.”
  • …Demolished gearbox for the lone Swede.
  • …Parking the Sauber in a trackside cloud.
  • …No Yellows.
  • …He parked it slowly, off, and in position to be pulled out of the way quickly.
  • Vettel is past Wehrlein.
  • …Who is in 11th, if you’re wondering how far through Vettel is.
  • …Or, how Wehrlein is doing (in his return).
  • …Or, both.
  • Hamilton has passed Alonso.
  • …Who is in 14th.
  • …To complete your visual (of the race for first).
  • Alonso is radioing with serious power unit issues.
  • …God, I hope it isn’t an Indy 475 for Alonso.
  • Yep, they’re retiring Alonso.
  • …McHonda is the exception to my rule of not worrying about anyone yet.
  • …It’s just a fucking shitshow.
  • …Honestly, it feels like they’ve taken way too many steps backward.
  • …When they’d barely (but, noticeably) moved forward (last year).
  • Final lap.
  • Vettel wins!
  • Hamilton takes second.
  • Bottas…sadly…third.
  • …Not that it’s bad.  Just…It would have been so sweet to see him turn that first Pole into a first win.
  • Kimi holds fourth.
  • …Which, I’m sure, despite all the superpowers in the mix, won’t be enough.
  • Ricciardo rocks fifth.
  • …Which -should- tell you how intense that competition is.
  • …Ferrari.
  • And, Massa, Perez, Grosjean, Hülkenberg, and Ocon yoink points.
  • …Yes, another double-points finish for Force India.
  • Wehrlein, in his return/first race of the season, just misses his first 2017 point (in eleventh).
  • And, Kvyat and Palmer finish in the losing end of that brutal “mid-field” mix.
  • …Which, isn’t (really) mid-field, is it?
  • …Thus far, we’re seeing a split.
  • …With brutal fights in each half.
  • …The reality is that it, at the end, everyone has to fall into some (numeric) place.
  • …That’s why it’s important to remember that the reasons numbers never lie…
  • …Is because they never tell the whole story.
  • …Ferrari.
  • …I say that like Pee-Wee says “Francis” (in ‘Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure’), by the way.
  • Christ on a cracker, Vettel’s stoked.
  • Bottas is smiling, while chatting with Vettel.
  • …So, I mean, it seems like he’s aware that he fought as hard as he could…
  • …Against those two multi-World Champions.
  • …In equal cars.
  • …He’ll get used to it.
  • …And, they (all) know it.
  • …I just want to put my fraction-of-a-cent in, and remind people of the facts.
  • …Starting with this being race number three.
  • …It’s a looong road ahead, folks.
  • …Don’t worry about anyone (quite) yet.
  • …Oh, except McHonda.
  • …But, do be aware that they are aware.
  • …Got all that…
  • …Ferarri?
  • Vettel’s favorite part…
  • …Podium photo shot.
  • …Getting to put his arm around that adorable, little Finn.
  • …He just loves Finns so much.
  • …Find a person who looks at you the way Vettel looks at Finns.
  • I really do hope that Hamilton continues to play nice with Bottas.
  • Oh!
  • …Right on cue…
  • …Coulthard asks Hamilton about his being so cool with not winning, etc.
  • …Seriously, was that much of all that toxicity of the past few seasons down to his dynamic with Rosberg, himself?
  • …I mean, it happens.
  • …There are just some people who drive you into being a crazy person.
  • …(Oh, admit it, you have one – if not several.  The reasons may be unknown, but they just bring out the absolute monster in you.  Lily Allen even has a song about it.)
  • …But, wow; that is one heck of a contrast.
  • …Not to say he (still) doesn’t have issues with being a dick during race weekends.
  • …”This guy”, anyone.
  • …But, he’s improving.
  • …And, he’s just not a dick.
  • Verstappen appears to have recovered.
  • …Now, it’s (still) very early…
  • …But, is it just me, or does it seem like Verstappen’s (really) settled into being a top F1 driver?
  • …Yes, I’m avoiding “grown up”, because he’s (still) a teenager.
  • …But, he’s just handled situations more maturely, more calmly.
  • …Like the successful driver, with several seasons behind him, that he is.
  • …Which, seriously, is all I wanted to see from that kid.
  • …Last year made me (really) nervous.
  • …All the defiance, (publicly) stating that he was just going to do his thing, etc.
  • …Which wasn’t looking good, in terms of a long career.
  • …Anyway, it seems like he’s settled in.
  • …Which is awesome.
  • Drivers’ Championship standings…
  • …#5 – Sebastian Vettel – DEU – Ferrari / 68
  • …#44 – Lewis Hamilton – GBR – Mercedes / 61
  • …#77 – Valtteri Bottas – FIN – Mercedes / 38
  • …#7 – Kimi Räikkönen – FIN – Ferrari / 34
  • …#33 – Max Verstappen – NLD – Red Bull / 25
  • …#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – AUS – Red Bull / 22
  • …#19 – Felipe Massa – BRA – Williams / 16
  • …#11 – Sergio Perez – MEX – Force India / 14
  • …#55 – Carlos Sainz – ESP – Toro Rosso / 10
  • …#8 – Romain Grosjean – FRA – Haas / 4
  • …#20 – Kevin Magnussen – DNK – Haas / 4
  • …#31 – Esteban Ocon – FRA – Force India / 3
  • …#27 – Nico Hülkenberg – DEU – Renault / 2
  • …#26 – Daniil Kvyat – RUS – Toro Rosso / 2
  • …#94 – Pascal Wehrlein – DEU – Sauber / 0
  • …#36 – Antonio Giovinazzi – ITA – Sauber (reserve) / 0
  • …#30 – Jolyon Palmer – GBR – Renault / 0
  • …#2 – Stoffel Vandoorne – BEL – McLaren / 0
  • …#14 – Fernando Alonso – ESP – McLaren / 0
  • …#9 – Marcus Ericsson – SWE – Sauber / 0
  • …#18 – Lance Stroll – CAN – Williams / 0
  • Constructors’ Championship standings…
  • …Ferrari (Ferrari) / 102
  • …Mercedes (Mercedes) / 99
  • …Red Bull (Tag Heuer) / 47
  • …Force India (Mercedes) / 17
  • …Williams (Mercedes) / 16
  • …Toro Rosso (Renault) / 12
  • …Haas (Ferrari) / 8
  • …Renault (Renault) / 2
  • …Sauber (Ferrari) / 0
  • …McLaren (Honda) / 0
  • Whelp…
  • …That’s that.
  • Next up…
  • …A weekend off.
  • But, then…
  • …Russia.
  • So…
  • …It’s Easter.
  • …Go watch some festive films.
  • …Like ‘Life of Brian’, ‘Donnie Darko’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’, and ‘Steel Magnolias’.
  • …Or, some paranormal (specifically, ghost) shit.
  • …Because…
  • …-raises eyebrow-
  • Anyhoo…
  • …”See” you in Sochi!
  • (Oh, and, happy birthday, Frank Williams!!!)

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF CHINA (7.4.2017 – 9.4.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good evening.
  • …(In the tone of George Hamilton, as Count Dracula, rising from his coffin at a Harlem funeral, in ‘Love at First Bite’.)
  • Hey, so, what could possibly keep a not-so-night owl (like me) up, past midnight…
  • …Watching NBCSN?
  • The Chinese Grand Prix.
  • That’s what.
  • Yes, yes, yes.
  • The 2017 Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix.
  • …At the Shanghai International Circuit.
  • …In Jiading, Shanghai, (you guessed it – hopefully) China.
  • …3.387mi (5.451km) in length.
  • …Shaped like a boxing bunny.
  • …(Happy early Easter.)
  • …With 16 turns.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …For 56 laps.
  • …Which will bring the goal total distance travelled to 189.559mi (305.066km).
  • …Give or take some distance.
  • …Offs, weather delays, other delays, the usual ‘anything can, and will, happen in F1’ stuff.
  • Weather-wise (today, in Shanghai)…
  • …I am seeing 54F.
  • …With some rain.
  • …Which looks to (pretty much) clear out for the race.
  • …But, will continue to threaten.
  • …And, if you’ve been keeping up with this weekend’s action, you’ll recall that it wasn’t the rain that cancelled FP2 (and halted most of FP1).
  • …It was the (related) fog, that grounded the medical helicopter.
  • …The fog at the nearest hospital, not around the track.
  • …So, there are a few variables threatening to intersect today.
  • …Oh, and, if you’re wondering why action would be halted because of a helicopter, being unable to land at the local hospital…
  • …Safety first.
  • …Any car in motion holds potential for a bad crash.
  • …A grounded medical helicopter could prove fatal.
  • …I know.
  • …Logistics, man.
  • Anyhoo…
  • Tires.
  • …Each car will be using tires (today).
  • …(Yyyaaayyy.)
  • …And, today’s options are Super Softs (red), Softs (yellow), and Mediums (white).
  • …With wet-weather Intermediates (green) and Rains (blue) available as needed.
  • Last year, the podium looked a little/lot/exactly like this…
  • …Nico Rosberg-DEU-Mercedes
  • …Sebastian Vettel-DEU-Ferrari
  • …Daniil Kvyat-RUS-Red Bull
  • How about today’s starting grid?
  • …(With 2016 results in parentheses.)
  • …#44 Lewis Hamilton-GBR-Mercedes (7) /// #5 Sebastian Vettel-DEU-Ferrari (2)
  • …#77 Valtteri Bottas-FIN-Mercedes (10/Williams) /// #7 Kimi Räikkönen-FIN-Ferrari (5)
  • …#3 Daniel Ricciardo-AUS-Red Bull (4) /// #19 Felipe Massa-BRA-Williams (6)
  • …#27 Nico Hülkenberg-DEU-Renault (15/Force India) /// #11 Sergio Perez-MEX-Force India (11)
  • …#26 Daniil Kvyat-RUS-Toro Rosso (3/Red Bull) /// #18 Lance Stroll-CAN-Williams (N/A)
  • …#55 Carlos Sainz-ESP-Toro Rosso (9) /// #20 Kevin Magnussen-DNK-Haas (18/Renault)
  • …#14 Fernando Alonso-ESP-McLaren (12) /// #9 Marcus Ericsson-SWE-Sauber (16)
  • …#36 Antonio Giovinazzi-ITA-Sauber (N/A) /// #2 Stoffel Vandoorne-BEL-McLaren (N/A)
  • …#33 Max Verstappen-NLD-Red Bull (8/Toro Rosso) /// #31 Esteban Ocon-FRA-Force India (N/A)
  • …#8 Romain Grosjean-FRA-Haas* (19) /// #30 Jolyon Palmer-GBR-Renault* (22)
  • …*Qualified 13th/14th (respectively), given 5-place penalties for failing to slow under a Yellow Flag (at the end of Q1; Giovinazzi’s late-session crash).
  • …And, if you didn’t catch it, Giovinazzi -is- filling in for Pascal Wehrlein (again).
  • …Again, these new cars are goddamn manimals, requiring a massive amount of upper body training (relative to past seasons).
  • …Due to a back injury (sustained at Race of Champions), Wehrlein’s fitness level hasn’t (quite) caught up with the rest of the field.
  • Okay.
  • Man, I hope I got everything right-ish.
  • Too late now.
  • Here we go!
  • The track is drying, but not dry.
  • The cars blast on through a cloud of spray.
  • …Like it’s some goddamn 1980s hard rock show.
  • Stroll of off.
  • …And, beach bummin’.
  • P.S. Giovinazzi -was- slapped with a five-place penalty.
  • …(Late, unscheduled gearbox change.)
  • …Which started him in 18th.
  • …Adjust everyone/thing accordingly.
  • A Virtual Safety Car has been enacted.
  • On replay, it was a bad touch with Perez that put the Canadian in the kitty litter.
  • …Man, if that isn’t a visual summary of North America right now.
  • Palmer spins off, but returns.
  • …Because of the whole British comeback thing.
  • …I guess.
  • Dude!
  • Giovinazzi’s just had a rather large crash.
  • …After a bit of a sit, he gets out.
  • …And, the crowd goes wild.
  • …This is just not his weekend.
  • …But, you know, weird as two crashes are, let’s not hold this against him.
  • …Remember, he stepped in on last-minute short notice.
  • …This is (only) his second F1 race.
  • …In tricky conditions.
  • …Feel bad for Sauber, but hold the rage.
  • Obviously-ish, the Safety Car has been deployed.
  • …Which means pitting for new tires.
  • …Before re-joining the sweet parade.
  • At Lap 6…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Raäikkönen, and Verstappen lead.
  • …With Bottas, Vettel, Alonso, Sainz, Kvyat, and Massa in the top ten.
  • …And, Perez, Magnussen, Ocon, Palmer, Vandoorne, Hülkenberg, Ericsson, and Grosjean completing the remaining field.
  • Kimi has angry-drunken-pirate-shouted that it’s (still) very wet on the main.
  • As Bottas spins.
  • …Behind the Safety Car.
  • …Well, you don’t see that every day.
  • Right.
  • Back to speed.
  • Oh, and, yes, sure…
  • …Verstappen just starts whipping around everyone.
  • …Because, he’s a goddamn animal in the wet.
  • Kimi: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO MY ENGINE; I HAVE NO TORQUE”.
  • Perez and Stroll were under investigation.
  • …But, are no longer.
  • …(It was declared the racing incident that it appeared to be.)
  • Kimi goes as wide as a car can go, without setting a wheel off track.
  • …As Vettel moves scarily close.
  • …(But, all ends well and good.)
  • Verstappen is (still) just flying past everyone.
  • …And, oddly enough, their mothers.
  • At Lap 12…
  • …Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …With Vettel, Sainz, Alonso, Perez, Magnussen, and Bottas in the top ten.
  • …And, Kvyat, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Massa, Vandoorne, Palmer, Grosjean, and Ericsson (still) in it.
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg and the Super Swede are under investigation for overtaking under a Yellow Flag.
  • …Over/under.
  • …Sure.
  • Ricciardo radios with understeer woes.
  • …Can I even use “woes” in regard to Happy-Pants Ricciardo?
  • Five-second penalty for Mr. Incredible.
  • …For overtaking the longship.
  • Kimi, yelling, “What the hell…?!” (over the radio) has clinched a race highlight spot (for me).
  • …His weird torque issues continue.
  • …He’s right on Ricciardo.
  • …Like, right on.
  • …So, I’m going to guess that he’s lacking the power to make the (otherwise easy) overtake happen.
  • …That’s lame.
  • …I wonder why Vettel remains right behind Kimi.
  • …Is the #5 car experiencing issues (as well)?
  • McLaren pulls Vandoorne’s car into the garage.
  • …Yes, with the driver.
  • Bottas passes Magnussen.
  • …Is a real sentence.
  • There’s a Toro Rosso, peeking out from behind a tire wall.
  • …And, Kvyat is showing as stopped.
  • …So, I’m going to put two and two together.
  • …They’re going to fuck a little, before concluding that Kvyat is out.
  • Vettel passes Räikkönen.
  • …In a rather slow, weird transaction.
  • And, now, Kimi’s right on Vettel.
  • …So…
  • …They’re just synchronized prancing?
  • Vettel goes in for the pass (on Ricciardo).
  • …Ooo!
  • …Too close!
  • …Bad touch!
  • …Svettel gets by.
  • …Both mosey on like it ain’t no thang.
  • Wait.
  • …Why is Kimi right on Ricciardo?
  • …What the hell -is- going on with that car?
  • …I mean, give Kimi a riding lawnmower, and he won’t even notice.
  • …But, there’s some weird shit going on (there).
  • At Lap 24…
  • …Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Räikkönen, Sainz, Alonso, Bottas, Magnussen, and Perez round-out the top ten.
  • …And, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Massa, Palmer, Grosjean, and Ericsson are (still) very much in it.
  • …Unlike Stroll, Giovinazzi, Vandoorne, and Kvyat.
  • …Who are quite out.
  • Kimi radios, wondering if they “really” think the tires are going to last to the end.
  • …”Because, it doesn’t feel like it.” (in a weird, demeaning almost sing-song-y tone.)
  • …Kimi always wins at radio transmissions.
  • Alonso radios, wondering about the damage to Bottas’ car.
  • …Because, what the hell is that combination doing back there?
  • Palmer radios with tire concerns.
  • Okay, clearly, the track is eating tires faster than expected.
  • …Shall we alter the plan?
  • Something has gone wonky with Verstappen’s car.
  • …He keeps running wide and wobbly.
  • …Red Bull calls him in.
  • …He says he can carry on, but a tire feels off.
  • Verstappen pits.
  • …2.6 seconds.
  • …They just did a simple tire change.
  • …So, it seems it -was- just the front-left tire that was icky.
  • …Cool.
  • …He re-enters in sixth, behind Bottas.
  • At Lap 32…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, and Räikkönen (now) lead.
  • …With Bottas, Verstappen, Alonso, Sainz, Magnussen, and Perez in the points.
  • …And, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Grosjean, Massa, Ericsson, and Palmer (still) ready for anything.
  • Verstappen passes Bottas.
  • …Clearly, there’s something wrong with that Mercedes.
  • More shouting from Kimi.
  • …Same great tire issues.
  • …Now, with more swearing.
  • Alonso goes wide.
  • …Allowing Sainz to fly right past.
  • …I mean, now is (about) the time his McLaren likes to start losing the will to live.
  • …If anyone else as noticed this.
  • Ah, yes.
  • …There we go.
  • …Alonso’s car has died.
  • …It’s like they just don’t have enough power (in them) to last the entire race.
  • …McLaren’s Honda engine is everyone else’s tires.
  • Both Mercedes kids pit.
  • Man, Alonso, walking down the pitlane, back to the garage, is just sad.
  • …Cue “The Lonely Man” (the theme to “The Incredible Hulk”).
  • …Really, he looks sad.
  • …Good job, guys; you sucked the life out of Alonso.
  • Kimi has pitted.
  • …Yeah.
  • …Good idea.
  • …(Jesus.  Seriously.)
  • RAI passes SAI.
  • …For fifth.
  • At Lap 43…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Räikkönen, Sainz, Bottas, Perez, Magnussen, and Massa in the points.
  • …And, Ocon, Grosjean, Hülkenberg, Palmer, and Ericsson (still) rollin’ hard.
  • …Stroll, Giovinazzi, Vandoorne, Kvyat, and Alonso remain quite out.
  • Bottas passes Sainz.
  • Ocon passes Massa.
  • …For that final point.
  • …The kid’s got moves.
  • Apparently, Mercedes is (still) on a learning curve…
  • …Calling Bottas, “Nico”.
  • …But, okay.
  • Magnussen passes Perez.
  • …For eighth.
  • …Fun fact: Kevin Magnussen’s Dad, Jan (who you may know from 24 Hours of Le Mans, etc), is cool.
  • …A long while back, Magnussen posted (to Instagram) that people should follow his dad, “…because he’s cool”.
  • …And, that’s all I can think of (now).
  • Verstappen just radioed a request to get Grosjean to move over.
  • …It was so polite.
  • …I (almost) didn’t understand the request.
  • …The usual call (from everyone) involves screaming and name-calling.
  • …Now, he’s put in a second call, with very slight agitation.
  • …Feeling that it’s having an effect on his car’s performance.
  • …However, he has to be within a second of him.
  • …Which he isn’t.
  • …The aerial shot shows a quite substantial gap, actually.
  • Ricciardo is riding his teenage teammate.
  • …Which I think is what is causing Verstappen to panic a bit.
  • Hamilton wins.
  • …His fifth win in China.
  • Vettel and Verstappen will join him on the podium.
  • …Verstappen, just a reminder, started from 16th.
  • Ricciardo and Räikkönen are (both) hampered by tired tires, but round-out the top five.
  • Bottas, Sainz, Magnussen, Perez, and Ocon take points.
  • And, Grosjean, Hülkenberg, Palmer, Massa, and Ericsson survive the brutality.
  • …Recall where Grosjean and Palmer started, by the way.
  • …Not bad, guys; not bad.
  • Verstappen and Vettel are hanging out.
  • …As if they’ve never exchanged road rage-y hand gestures.
  • …Cool.
  • So, there’s your podium.
  • …Thirties, twenties, teens.
  • I just looked at Hamilton and Vettel, spraying one another (with champagne), and said, “They have so many trophies.”.
  • …It’s so far past my bedtimething.
  • Verstappen just stopped Hamilton (in the middle of his podium interview), to point out that he always calls him “this guy”.
  • …I mean, I suppose we should be treating Hashtag Teen with the respect that he’s entitled to.
  • …(Yes, ‘Mommie Dearest’ reference.)
  • …I guess I never thought of it (before), but Hamilton -does- call people “this guy” a lot, doesn’t he?
  • …Anyhoo, I (actually) laughed aloud.
  • New game…
  • …Vettel, smiling:
  • …Happy, or plotting?
  • Hamilton just called Verstappen “this guy” (again).
  • …Dude.
  • …Is this how meetings at Mercedes roll?
  • …I enjoyed the collective physical reaction to it.
  • …Everyone (up there) slumped a little.
  • …I (also) like that it’s serial killer-like de-personalization.
  • …”It rubs the lotion on the skin, or else it gets the hose (again).”
  • Oh, good…
  • …Bottas is going to spend the week, beating himself up.
  • …Excellent.
  • …Party.
  • …And, on top of it, they called him “Nico”.
  • …So, bad days…
  • …They happen.
  • …Nordics…
  • …They, too, happen.
  • …Hard.
  • Speaking of…
  • …Kimi.
  • …Who sounds like he has a similar party planned.
  • …Awesome.
  • …That’s how I spend my time, too.
  • …Like Betty Draper said, in response to being called out on looking so sad, “My people are Nordic”.
  • Bottas and Räikkönen should just know that Vettel loves them.
  • …Find someone who looks at you the way Vettel looked at Bottas, at yesterday’s post-Qualifying press conference, while he was explaining how close they qualified.
  • …Vettel loves Finns.
  • …One of my all-time favorite stories is when Vettel ran into Juho Hänninen in the bathroom (at an FIA Prom), and Hänninen started going off on all sorts of random shit, before requesting death.
  • …YouTube it (the story, not the encounter; that would be…disturbing).
  • …And, F1 posted the press conference photo to their Twitter account.
  • …The dude loves Finns.  Hard.
  • Sainz, smiling uncontrollably…
  • …”…Suddenly, I’m not so stupid anymore…”
  • …Can I have some more of that enthusiasm, please?
  • …Love.  It.
  • Okay.
  • Well, that’s that for China.
  • Drivers’ Championship standings…
  • …Vettel – 43 / Hamilton – 43 / Verstappen – 25 / Bottas – 23
  • …Räikkönen – 22 / Ricciardo – 12 / Sainz – 10 / Massa – 8
  • …Perez – 8 / Magnussen – 4
  • Constructors’ Championship standings…
  • …Mercedes – 66 / Ferrari – 65 / Red Bull – 37 / Toro Rosso – 12
  • …Force India – 10 / Williams – 8 / Haas – 4
  • Next up…
  • …Bahrain.
  • …Which is next weekend.
  • So…
  • …See you then.
  • …You guys.

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2017 GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRALIA (24.3.2017 – 26.3.2017) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • G’day, mates!
  • …Said someone who is Australian, who is not me.
  • Anyway…
  • Hello.
  • Welcome to the 2017 Australian Grand Prix.
  • And, to my first running commentary since…
  • …Last summer?
  • …Long story, short: sometimes, one just needs to step away, and regroup.
  • On that note…
  • Yes, this is the Australian Grand Prix.
  • Which marks the beginning of a new F1 season.
  • With new cars.
  • Using very large tires.
  • These things are goddamn manimals, man.
  • Okay, but, before I start going off on all sorts of weird tangents…
  • …How about a little rundown on today’s race?
  • …Which is airing (in the US) on NBCSN.
  • The 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
  • …Which is held at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit (Albert Park).
  • …Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
  • …It is a street circuit.
  • …Subject to all that street circuit messiness.
  • …3.295 miles (5.303km) in length.
  • …16 turns.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …With 58 laps scheduled for today’s race.
  • …Which will bring the total distance travelled to 191.118mi (307.574km).
  • …Should each driver complete the task at hand.
  • …Because, you know, it’s F1.
  • …Shit can, and will, happen.
  • …For example, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has stopped on track.
  • …Before cars have even lined up on the grid.
  • …Today’s tire choices are Ultra Softs (purple), Super Softs (red), and Softs (yellow).
  • …With wet-weather Intermediates (green) and Rains (blue) available (if needed).
  • …However, it appears to be a free-and-clear sunny and 80F in Melbourne.
  • …So, drivers should (only) have to worry about using two of those three (dry) options.
  • Holy shit, Ricciardo is out.
  • …The dude cannot catch a break at his home race.
  • …But, that’s how home races tend to work, isn’t it?
  • …Brutal, just brutal.
  • That said, here is your starting grid…
  • …#44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) / #5 Sebastian Vettel (DEU / Ferrari)
  • …#77 Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes) / #7 Kimi Räikkönen (FIN / Ferrari)
  • …#33 Max Verstappen (NLD / Red Bull) / #8 Romain Grosjean (FRA / Haas)
  • …#19 Felipe Massa (BRA / Williams) / #55 Carlos Sainz (ESP / Toro Rosso)
  • …#26 Daniil Kvyat (RUS / Toro Rosso) / #11 Sergio Perez (MEX / Force India)
  • …#27 Nico Hülkenberg (DEU / Renault) / #14 Fernando Alonso (ESP / McLaren)
  • …#31 Esteban Ocon (FRA / Force India) / #9 Marcus Ericsson (SWE / Sauber)
  • …#3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / Red Bull)* / #36 Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Sauber)**
  • …#20 Kevin Magnussen (DNK / Haas) / #2 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL / McLaren)
  • …#30 Jolyon Palmer (GBR / Renault) / #18 Lance Stroll (CAN / Williams)***
  • …*Ricciardo qualified 10th, but an unscheduled gearbox change (following a Q3 crash) gives him a five-place grid penalty.
  • …**Giovinazzi (Ferrari/Sauber reserve) fills in for Pascal Wehrlein, who has withdrawn due to a lack of appropriate fitness (stemming from a back injury sustained at Race of Champions).
  • …***Stroll qualified 19th, but was (also) given a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change (which was required after a Practice 3 crash).
  • And, if you’re wondering how 2016 looked…
  • …Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (DEU) took the first win of his pre-retirement Championship season.
  • …Followed by Hamilton (in second).
  • …And, Vettel in third.
  • Aaannnddd, we have an aborted start.
  • …Because, it’s Australia.
  • …This will bring the competitive laps (down) to 57.
  • …(By the way.)
  • Should we try this (again)?
  • Sure!
  • Hamilton speeds away.
  • Ericsson and Magnussen are off!
  • …Goddammit, why can’t Swedes and Danes just get along?
  • …Both are (back) on track.
  • …Magnussen has radioed-in with a puncture.
  • …He’s listed as pitted.
  • …Consider this a warning, unruly Vikings.
  • Hey!
  • …Ricciardo has been released from the Red Bull garage!
  • …And, there was much rejoicing!
  • …(Seriously, the fans went nuts.)
  • Vandoorne is radioing, “My dash is not working.”
  • …Well, that’s nice.
  • …Happy birthday to you.
  • Fastest lap for Vettel.
  • …This was Ferrari’s first front-row start in over a year.
  • …Fun fact.
  • Stroll is in 14th, and Giovinazzi is in 17th.
  • …If you’re wondering how the rookiedookiedos are rookiedookiedoing.
  • …However, the 18-year-old Canadian has just pitted.
  • …(Stroll.)
  • At Lap 10…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …Verstappen, Massa, Grosjean, Sainz, Perez, and Kvyat round-out the top 10.
  • Vandoorne pits for technical assistance.
  • …Which he gets, and he’s (back) on track.
  • Hamilton makes a call with tire concerns.
  • …But, nothing panicky.
  • …So, don’t moisten yourself with worry/excitement.
  • Stroll and Giovinazzi are in their own race.
  • …Back-and-forth, back-and-forth.
  • …Which is (actually) great for the two rookies.
  • …Some solid experience as (pretty) even competitors.
  • …With Giovinazzi in the lead.
  • …In the Sauber.
  • …With the old engine.
  • …On one day’s notice.
  • Uh oh…
  • …Grosjean has pulled into pitlane in a cloud.
  • …Yep, he’s out of the car.
  • …Game over.
  • …After Haas’ best grid start to date.
  • …But, I mean, this is (only) their second year.
  • …And, you know, it’s Australia.
  • …No worries, guys.
  • Palmer is radioing with frustrated growling.
  • Hamilton pits.
  • …And, out.
  • …But, he’ll have to work his way (back) up.
  • …Coming out in fifth.
  • Palmer pits.
  • …And, he’s out of the car.
  • …Another casualty of the season opener.
  • At Lap 22…
  • …Vettel, Bottas, Räikkönen, and Verstappen lead.
  • …With Hamilton, Kvyat, Massa, Perez, Sainz, and Alonso in the top-ten.
  • Hamilton radios, “There’s no way I can get past this guy.”
  • …The guy in question being Verstappen.
  • …Who, in turn, has radioed concerns with his rear tires.
  • Vettel pits.
  • …Finally.
  • …3-second stop.
  • …He comes out right ahead of Verstappen.
  • …Like, RIGHT ahead.
  • Yellow Flag.
  • …Aaannnddd, it’s for Ericsson.
  • …Who has pulled off track (and, is out of the car).
  • …Not a great weekend for Sauber.
  • …But, a very promising one.
  • …They’re on track for a decent season.
  • Whoa, okay, Toto.
  • …A shot of Mercedes’ boss, Toto Wolff, banging his fist down.
  • …Settle down, Herman Munster; you don’t want to smash any coffee tables.
  • …(He’s very large.)
  • …(One of my favorite Herman Munster incidents was when he smashed a waiting room coffee table, panicked, and kept making it worse, until he fled the scene.)
  • At Lap 28…
  • …Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …With Verstappen, Kvyat, Massa, Perez, Sainz, and Alonso in the top ten.
  • Yellow Flag.
  • …It’s Ricciardo.
  • …He fought fate, but fate caught up with him.
  • …The curse of the home event.
  • …”Let’s get the fuck outta here.”, radios a completely dejected Ricciardo.
  • …Okay, so, he had that gearbox change.
  • …What stopped him (earlier) was being stuck in gear.
  • …What ended his race was a couple loud clunks.
  • …So…I guess the replacement gearbox was just a lemon.
  • …Whatever the case, the smiley Aussie isn’t very smiley at the moment.
  • …Joining fellow serial smiler, Grosjean, in getting a jump on the next round.
  • So, four down.
  • …16 remain.
  • …Which is (still) a pretty high number for the Australian Grand Prix.
  • …And, everyone started.
  • …So, that’s a huge positive.
  • Hamilton is told he may have to stretch out his tires.
  • …The Caramello strategy.
  • …”Streeetch it out-out-out / Caramello…”
  • …Mmm…Caramello.
  • …(Are they still sold?  You know what?  It’s best that I don’t know.)
  • If you’re wondering why Grosjean and Ricciardo look so sad, and Ferrari is showing up Mercedes…
  • …Might I suggest looking up “water, going down drains, in the Southern Hemisphere”?
  • …(It goes straight down on the Equator.  FYI.)
  • At Lap 42…
  • …Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …Verstappen, Massa, Perez, Sainz, Kvyat, and Alonso round-out the top ten.
  • …Ocon, Hülkenberg, Giovinazzi, Stroll, Vandoorne, and Magnussen complete the set.
  • …And, Grosjean, Palmer, Ericsson, and Ricciardo have retired.
  • Aw…
  • …Williams have called Stoll in.
  • …An early end to a pretty darn good debut race.
  • …(Brake failure is reported to be the culprit.)
  • Hamilton radios with more concerns.
  • Note that their voices are shakier in these cars.
  • …If you watch the onboards, you’ll see quite a bit of wrestling with the steering wheels.
  • …Seriously, these things are vicious manimals.
  • At Lap 47…
  • …Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and Räikkönen (still) lead.
  • …With Verstappen, Massa, Perez, Kvyat, Sainz, and Alonso in the points.
  • …And, Ocon, The Incredible Hülkenberg, Giovinazzi, Vandoorne, and Magnussen (still) in it.
  • …Yes, Magnussen is (still) going.
  • Never mind.
  • …Yellow Flag.
  • …Magnussen has parked his Haas just off track.
  • …Not a great opener for Haas.
  • …But, not the end of the world.
  • …Suspension failure.
  • Oh!
  • …Conga line!
  • …Hülkenberg on Ocon on Alonso.
  • …For the final point.
  • …They’re (all) alongside one another!
  • …Ocon wins.
  • …Mr. Incredible follows.
  • Alonso has radioed with suspected suspension damage.
  • …He pits.
  • …He’s out.
  • Did Toro Rosso just call Sainz a “manimal”?
  • …Oh, okay, “…push like an animal”.
  • …That would make more sense.
  • …I guess.
  • Lap 56.
  • …You know what that means.
  • …I have to pee.
  • Verstappen: “How much faster is the fastest lap?”
  • …Red Bull: “Too fast.”
  • Bottas takes fastest lap.
  • Kimi yoinks fastest lap (from Bottas).
  • Final lap.
  • Vettel wins!!!!!!!
  • Hamilton and Bottas complete the podium.
  • …In Bottas’ Mercedes’ debut.
  • Räikkönen and Verstappen round-out the top five.
  • Massa, Perez, Sainz, Kvyat, and Ocon take points.
  • …Ocon’s first F1 point.
  • And, Hülkenberg, Giovinazzi, and Vandoorne complete the task.
  • …Hülkenberg’s first race with Renault, Giovinazzi’s first F1 race, and Vandoorne’s first Australian Grand Prix.
  • …In case you were mistaking not getting points for a loss.
  • Holy shit!
  • …Fans are on track!
  • …Like, cars are dodging crowds.
  • …Not okay, people.
  • …Not cool.
  • Vettel cannot stop jumping on his team.
  • …And…dancing?
  • …After speaking an enormous amount of Italian.
  • …Because, that’s how Svettel rolls.
  • Podium time.
  • Man, Italians love to yell along to their national anthem.
  • …Not a criticism, or complaint, just an observation.
  • In Finnish style, Bottas chugs the champagne before he sprays it.
  • Conducting the podium interviews…
  • …Mark Webber.
  • …For maximum accent effect.
  • Bottas.  Nordic.
  • …Give them a win, and they’ll dwell on the weakness of the margin.
  • …And, go team.
  • Okay.  Well.  That’s that.
  • Here are your first Drivers’ Championship standings of the 2017 season…
  • …VET 25 / HAM 18 / BOT 15 / RÄI 12 / VER 10
  • …MAS 8 / PER 6 / SAI 4 / KVY 2 / OCO 1
  • And, here are your first Constructors’ Championship standings of the 2017 season…
  • …Ferrari 37 / Mercedes 33 / Red Bull 10
  • …Williams 8 / Force India 7 / Toro Rosso 6
  • Right.
  • Cool.
  • Next up…
  • …China.
  • …Which kicks off (with P1/2) Friday, April 7th.
  • …But, like Australia, check your locals.
  • …I believe the action starts late Thursday night (in my part of the world).
  • …Anyway, always check your locals.
  • …Always.
  • Yep.
  • Goodnight!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF ITALY (2.9.2016 – 4.9.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning.
  • I guess.
  • It’s pretty dark (here).
  • Unlike at Monza.
  • Where it is as sunny as the dispositions of the Ferrari powers that be.
  • That’s right, kids.
  • It’s time for the Italian Grand Prix.
  • The Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken D’Italia 2016.
  • …At the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
  • …In Monza, Italy.
  • …Hey, sometimes they don’t match up this well, so let’s just clarify, eh?
  • …The circuit is 5.793km (3.600mi) in length.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …With 11 turns.
  • …Giving it the shape of the foot that fits in the boot that is Italy.
  • …Today, there are 53 laps scheduled.
  • …Which will bring the total distance to 306.720km (190.587mi).
  • …Provided the task is completed.
  • …But, it’s F1.
  • …And, this is Monza.
  • …So, let’s just take this centimeter by centimeter, shall we?
  • In 2015…
  • …It was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who took the win.
  • …With Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel taking second.
  • …And, Williams’ Felipe Massa completing the podium.
  • As for today…
  • …Here’s your starting grid (with each driver’s 2015 results in parentheses)…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton-GBR (1) / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg-DEU (17)
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel-DEU (2) / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen-FIN (5)
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas-FIN (4) / Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo-AUS (8)
  • …Red Bull’s Max Verstappen-NDL (12/Toro Rosso) / Force India’s Sergio Perez-MEX (6)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg-DEU (7) / Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez-MEX (N/A)
  • …Williams’ Felipe Massa-BRA (3) / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso-ESP (18)
  • …Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein-DEU (N/A) / McLaren’s Jenson Button-GBR (14)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr-ESP (11) / Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat-RUS (10/Red Bull)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean-FRA (DNF/Lotus)* / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr-BRA (13)
  • …Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson-SWE (9) / Renault’s Jolyon Palmer-GBR (N/A)
  • …Renault’s Kevin Magnussen-DNK (N/A) / Manor’s Esteban Ocon-FRA (N/A)
  • …*Grosjean qualified 12th, but will serve a five-placegrid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
  • Weather-wise…
  • …It is 86F and pretty darn sunny.
  • …Putting the track temperature at the usual 100 billion.
  • Hunger-wise…
  • …Does anyone not want to go Garfield on a big pan of lasagne right now?
  • …Like, I could (totally) eat my way to the tree.
  • News-wise…
  • …Yes.
  • …As pre-race events started, Massa announced that this will be his final season in F1.
  • …After 14 (right?) years in the sport.
  • …Successful years, (both) on and off the track.
  • …Taking the 2008 World Championship down to the final results of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
  • …Earning the title of “The People’s Champion” for his effort.
  • …And, making so very many friends and fans along the way.
  • …For not only being a reliably fair, honest driver…
  • …But, just a genuinely nice guy…
  • …With a wicked sense of humor.
  • …Personally, I’m not willing to stamp my approval on this move.
  • …Nor am I about to give Jenson Button’s planned 2017 sabbatical my approval.
  • …Yesterday, Button announced that he has signed a two-year contract with McLaren.
  • …Stepping down in 2017, assuming an ambassadorial position, and learning to live life for the first time in the past 17 years of his 36 years on Earth.
  • …With the option to return to his seat in 2018.
  • …With Stoffel Vandoorne popping a squat in his seat for 2017.
  • …So, he’s not retiring.
  • …You can look at this two ways…
  • …Mika Häkkinen took a leave, and never returned.
  • …But, Kimi Räikkönen left to explore other motorsports, and, well, he returned as if nothing happened.
  • …So, we’ll see.
  • …Whatever happens, I’m bummed for 2017 before it’s begun.
  • …In other news…
  • …After his horrific, barrier-breaking crash (at Spa), Magnussen is feeling well enough to drive today.
  • …Basically, he felt like crap, and had a minor cut on his ankle, but he escaped (otherwise) unharmed.
  • …So, Magnussen is ready.
  • …Are you?
  • Here we go!
  • Vettel flies ahead!!!
  • …As if (actually) propelled by the home crowd cheers!
  • Where is Hamilton going?
  • …He’s just dropping.
  • …He’s had a start on par with those that plagued the Mercs at the beginning of the season.
  • …But, had been corrected many races ago.
  • On the flip side…
  • …Rosberg has taken the lead.
  • …But, not without threats from two very red cars, right behind him.
  • Ooo…
  • …Nasr and Palmer collide.
  • …With a (resulting) spin (Nasr) that just about takes out Magnussen.
  • Hamilton is (now) running fifth.
  • …And, stuck behind a Finn we haven’t seen flying so much this season…
  • …Bottas.
  • …Who just followed right along with the Ferraris (at the start).
  • At Lap 6…
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, Räikkönen, Bottas, and Hamilton lead.
  • …With Ricciardo, Perez, Massa, Alonso, and Verstappen rounding out the top ten.
  • …And, Hülkenberg, Grosjean, Wehrlein, Sainz, Kvyat, Ericsson, Button, Gutierrez, Magnussen, Ocon, and Palmer remain very much in the game.
  • Shot of Palmer, in the pits, looking like he’s processing what’s happened.
  • …What’s happened is that he appears to be out.
  • On a related note…
  • …Nasr has been slapped with a penalty (for causing that collision).
  • …A ten-second time penalty.
  • …Which means very little, as he’s retired.
  • A little memo on the F1 app board…
  • …”Irregular positioning” for Kvyat and Sainz.
  • …Good god, Toro Rosso’s gone rogue.
  • …It’s Italy, and they’ve gone rogue.
  • …I’m into it.
  • Hamilton gets around Bottas.
  • …Which, I’m pretty sure, everyone and their Italian mama saw coming.
  • Box – box – box…
  • …As drivers pull in for new tires…
  • …And/or to partake in some boxing.
  • A lovely shot of the Ferrari powers that be, not cheering in the garage.
  • …Okay, so, Ferrari has this extraordinary legacy, sure.
  • …But, seriously, who the fuck would ever want to drive for them?
  • …No, really.
  • …You can’t fucking win.
  • …And, it’s got to be the worst-run team in F1.
  • …It’s all business, all investments.
  • …There’s no human reality.
  • …Just cogs.
  • …Easily tossed, and frequently replaced cogs.
  • …And, is there ever any real responsibility taken from the top?
  • …Like, any thought that the team model is what needs restructuring?
  • …The feeling is always one of walking on eggshells.
  • …Of not being able to win.
  • …And, they’ve got these adoring fans, and passionate drivers.
  • …I’m just not into it.
  • …Sorry.
  • On that note…
  • …Vettel’s pit stop has suffered a mechanical failure.
  • …With a jammed gun.
  • …Fortunately, there’s no pressure on these guys.
  • Has Ferrari considered consulting psychologists?
  • …To learn how to stay on the good side of the pressure line?
  • …To keep it constructive, rather than keeping it destructive?
  • …Just wondering.
  • Perez zips past Grosjean.
  • …For eighth.
  • …Then, flies by Verstappen.
  • …Movin’ on up…
  • …To the East Side…
  • …To a deluxe apartment…
  • …In the sky…
  • …(Seventh.)
  • Rosberg pits.
  • …Replay shows that they had a tire bump.
  • …Like a fist bump.
  • …But, not-so-great.
  • …So, like an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” McPoyle “bump it”.
  • …Refreshing that memory you’d repressed was my pleasure.
  • At Lap 27…
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, Räikkönen, Hamilton, and Bottas lead.
  • …With Ricciardo, Perez, Verstappen, Massa, and Hülkenberg in the points.
  • …And, Grosjean, Alonso, Button, Gutierrez, Wehrlein, Sainz, Kvyat, Ericsson, Ocon, and Magnussen (still) in it to win it…
  • …Should a massive Monza pileup occur.
  • …Never, ever count that possibility out.
  • But, do count Wehrlein out.
  • …As Manor has instructed him to stop the car.
  • …Lame.
  • …He’d started well, and had been running with it.
  • …So, anyway, adjust accordingly.
  • Shot of Alonso, speeding along.
  • …He’s a passionate Spaniard.
  • …He’s had a rough weekend, with his longtime friends announcing their exits.
  • …Do you think he’s crying and driving?
  • …Could someone cue up Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”?
  • …Note that he was next(-ish) to Massa on the starting grid.
  • …Do you think it was like Brendan Fraser, unable to look at the beautiful sunset, in ‘Bedazzled’?
  • …I do.
  • …Look it up.
  • …The thought will make your day.
  • At Lap 32…
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, Räikkönen, Hamilton, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Verstappen, Massa, Hülkenberg, Bottas, and Perez remain in the points jumble.
  • …And, Alonso, Button, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Sainz, Kvyat, Ericsson, Ocon, and Magnussen, ready to pounce.
  • Vettel pits.
  • …Not another disaster, but a little wonky.
  • …But, that’s only a concern, as it’s Ferrari, and it’s Monza.
  • Alonso and McLaren, on the radio, discussing an alphabet of plans.
  • …He may (actually) be crying and driving.
  • Verstappen pits.
  • …There hasn’t been much to discuss on the matter of the boy racer (today).
  • …He’s been talked to about his borderline risky driving.
  • …So, maybe, he’s been taking it down a notch.
  • …Which is all anyone wants.
  • …Just for him to learn, to start more conservatively, and learn and push the limits as he gains a better feel for the atmosphere.
  • …His youth gives him the luxury of time to learn, and to (potentially) become about as perfect as a human driver can be.
  • …And, everyone knows it.
  • …And, that it would be a shame to throw that opportunity…
  • …Not to mention, an entire, long, career…
  • …Away.
  • …Anyway, fingers crossed that this is handled optimally.
  • Kvyat is under investigation for pitlane speeding.
  • …Bygones…
  • …Toro Rosso has retired him.
  • At Lap 42…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Räikkönen, and Bottas lead.
  • …Ricciardo, Perez, Verstappen, Massa, and Hülkenberg roll in the points.
  • …And, Grosjean, Alonso, Button, Gutierrez, Ericsson, Sainz, Magnussen, and Ocon continue to rock what they’ve got.
  • …Nasr, Palmer, Wehrlein, and Kvyat stand as the retirements (thus far).
  • Fastest Lap for Mr Kimi.
  • …Because, that’s what he does.
  • The McHondas speed along, together.
  • …Just imagine the sobs, as Fernando thinks about how he won’t be able to do this next season.
  • Shot of McHonda’s Jost Capito.
  • …Not hugging anyone.
  • …Which is weird for me to see.
  • …Help a sista out…
  • …Go latch onto someone.
  • …Hard.
  • …In your Capito way.
  • …German mother of the WRC, right there.
  • Ricciardo creeps up on Bottas around the corners.
  • …Then, passes in a flash of navy.
  • …Yoinking fifth from the Finn.
  • McLaren radios Alonso with some instructions.
  • …All that’s heard from Fernando is maniacal laughing.
  • …Because, he’s rad like that.
  • Perez and Verstappen fight for seventh.
  • …Two guys, with histories of proximal pushing.
  • …Doing just that.
  • …Before the elder of the two backs off, takes the run-off, and hangs back in eighth.
  • Final lap…
  • So…
  • …Does Ferrari kill their drivers (now)?
  • …Or, what happens?
  • Rosberg takes das win.
  • Followed by Hamilton.
  • Vettel gets to hang his head in shame on the final step (of the podium).
  • Räikkönen…fourth…in red…at Monza.
  • …Yeah.
  • Ricciardo holds on to fifth.
  • Bottas takes an impressive sixth for the struggling Williams.
  • Verstappen hangs onto that seventh, in a very solid, very clean race for the teen.
  • Perez takes that responsible eighth.
  • Massa comes away with ninth, in his grand Monza finale.
  • And, The Incredible Hülkenberg takes the final point of the day.
  • Grosjean, Button, Gutierrez, Alonso, Sainz, Ericsson, Magnussen, and Ocon complete the task.
  • While Nasr, Palmer, Wehrlein, and Kvyat…not so much.
  • So…
  • …That’s the wrong hat, Svettel.
  • …He’s grabbed the hat with the big “1st” on it.
  • …And, no one is pointing it out to him.
  • …Oh, yeah, there you go.
  • …Yep.
  • And, a huge fucking “boo” from the crowd as Rosberg hops onto the podium.
  • …Because, F1 fans are getting classier and classier.
  • Are those giant Scuderia Ferrari flags like those elementary school dealies you (all) flap up, it catches air, creates a tent, and you (all) hang out under?
  • …Because, that would be cool.
  • …’Scuderia’ just means ‘team’, by the way.
  • …For anyone thinking it was something super exotic and sexy.
  • Here you go, Italy…
  • …Hans Strudel.
  • …For your pleasure/displeasure.
  • …Speaking in Italian.
  • And, it’s time for Rosberg to speak Italian.
  • …And…
  • …Is he humming “Seven Nation Army”?
  • …See, Eddie Jordan caught that, too.
  • …Because…Wichita.
  • Okay…
  • …Well…
  • …Let’s wrap this up, shall we?
  • The Drivers’ Championship standings…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton-GBR (250) / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg-DEU (248)
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo-AUS (161) / Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel-DEU (143)
  • …Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen-FIN (136) / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen-NLD (121)
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas-FIN (70) / Force India’s Sergio Perez-MEX (62)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg-DEU (46) / Williams’ Felipe Massa-BRA (41)
  • …McLaren’s Fernando Alonso-ESP (30) / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr-ESP (30)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean-FRA (28) / Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat-RUS (23)
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button-GBR (17) / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen-DNK (6)
  • …Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein-DEU (1) / McLaren’s (reserve) Stoffel Vandoorne-BEL (1)
  • …Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez-MEX (0) / Renault’s Jolyon Palmer-GBR (0)
  • …Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson-SWE (0) / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr-BRA (0)
  • …Manor’s Rio Haryanto-IDN (0) / Manor’s Esteban Ocon-FRA (0)
  • The Constructors’ Championship standings…
  • …Mercedes (498) / Red Bull (290) / Ferrari (279) / Williams (111) / Force India (108)
  • …McLaren (48) / Toro Rosso (45) / Haas (28) / Renault (6) / Manor (1) / Sauber (0)
  • So…
  • …What I’m getting from Twitter chatter is that this race was boring.
  • …But, isn’t that the general consensus every goddamn race?
  • …Man, people like to bitch.
  • …Okay, was it the most exciting race ever?
  • …No.
  • …But, here’s the thing about Monza…
  • …It moves at hyperspeed.
  • …I think time flies at Monza faster than any other race.
  • …The circuit is fast and flowing.
  • …And, unless there’s a wreck, there’s not going to be a whole lot of time for a whole lot of drama.
  • …Also, remember that most teams are reconfiguring after the break, trying new strategies, using new components, and so on.
  • …Not to mention, there’s the whole Verstappen aftermath, putting on-track behavior and paying attention to one’s surroundings at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
  • …So, there’s going to be a lot of here, there, everywhere weirdness.
  • …However, it is how you choose to see it.
  • …I saw a hell of a lot of action around the corners.
  • …And, some really intense defending.
  • …So much close, but not close enough.
  • …Bottom line, these guys drove really well.
  • …And, you know how that works…
  • …The better a person is, the more in control they are, the easier it is going to look.
  • …They breezed through it with smooth moves.
  • …Which is just how it should, in racing theory, be.
  • …These guys, and the teams behind them, are working their asses off.
  • …You cannot see these guys, sweating their (often deliciously dark) little souls out, beet-red, and say that nothing happened.
  • …So, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.
  • …It’s that simple.
  • …Ya lazy armchair critic assholes.
  • And, again, yes, I loved Verstappen’s drive (today).
  • …He wants to learn to be the best.
  • …So, let’s stop feeding his teenage temperament, and applaud his stepping back to see the forest for the trees.
  • …Even if he’d stab a bitch to win.
  • …Someone who is someone, remind him that it’s an investment in a long, successful, popular future.
  • …Please, don’t turn him into a villain, or throw him away.
  • …Remember, he’s like any other 18-year-old.
  • …We’re (all) a little Bambi, learning to harness those legs, at that age.
  • …Except, he’s an F1 driver, in a top car.
  • …So, he’s more like a joey.
  • …If you’ve never watched baby kangaroos learning to hop, look it up.
  • …They’re spring-loaded, and have trouble harnessing their power.
  • …So, they get a little out of control.
  • …Squirrels are like that, too.
  • …Then, they get it down.
  • …And, it’s a spectacular work of nature-and-nurture.
  • And, on that metaphoric note…
  • …That’s that from Monza.
  • Next up…
  • …Slingapore!
  • …Yep.
  • …You have next weekend to sleep in.
  • …And, prepare yourself.
  • …For the night moves of the Singapore Grand Prix.
  • …The following week.
  • So long, Europe.
  • …See you next year.
  • …(Yes, this was the final European round of the season.)
  • And, F1…
  • …I’ll see you in a week-and-a-half-ish.
  • …Bring on the Fall frenzy!

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!)

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF GERMANY (29.7.2016 – 31.7.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Guten morgen!
  • Okay…
  • …Let me just make this as crystal fucking clear as possible…
  • Germany.
  • F1.
  • It’s back.
  • It’s happening.
  • Now.
  • Right now.
  • And, if you’re in the US…
  • …It’s (all) happening on NBCSN.
  • Germany!!!!!!!
  • Oh, my god, it was gone for a year.
  • That (actually) happened.
  • But, it’s back.
  • So…
  • …Shall we get to it?
  • Formula 1 Großer Preis von Deutschland 2016!!!
  • …Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
  • …(Back) at Hockenheimring!
  • …Where it was in 2014.
  • …If you missed it (or, are just new to this), Germany was taken off the calendar last year.
  • …The rotating schedule had it at Nurbergring.
  • …But, financing didn’t just fall through…
  • …It collapsed from under them.
  • …And, Hockenheim just didn’t have enough time to take it over.
  • …But, the rotation takes it back to Hockenheim on schedule this weekend.
  • …So, let’s look at the circuit, shall we?
  • …It is 4.574km (2.842mi) in length.
  • …With 17 turns.
  • …Giving it a shape that, when flipped inappropriately…
  • …As I do (every race, every season)…
  • …Resembles a profile of Martin Short’s classic “SCTV”/”SNL” character, Ed Grimley.
  • …I must say.
  • …It is run clockwise.
  • …And, today, it will be looped 67 times.
  • …Putting the goal total distance traveled (by race end) at 306.458km (190.424mi).
  • …Provided the race runs all 67 laps.
  • …And, each driver (respectively) makes it.
  • …But, this is F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most of it will.
  • And, how about that starting grid?
  • …With 2014 results in parentheses.
  • …Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (1) / Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (3)
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (6) / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (N/A)
  • …Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (11) / Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (4 – Red Bull)
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (2) / Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (7)
  • …Force India’s Sergio Perez (10) / Williams’ Felipe Massa (DNF)
  • …Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez (14 – Sauber) / McLaren’s Jenson Button (8)
  • …McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (5 – Ferrari) / Renault’s Jolyon Palmer (N/A)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. (N/A) / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen (9 – McLaren)
  • …Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein (N/A) / Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (DNF)
  • …Manor’s Rio Haryanto (N/A) / Haas’ Romain Grosjean (DNF – Lotus)
  • …Sauber’s Felipe Nasr (N/A) / Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (18 – Caterham)
  • …Hülkenberg Qualified seventh, but received a one-place grid penalty for reusing P3 tires that had been (electronically) turned in.
  • …Sainz Qualified 13th, but received a three-place penalty for impeding (on Massa, in Q2).
  • …And, Grosjean Qualified 15th, but received a five-place penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
  • Weatherwise…
  • …It is 75F and cloudy in Hockenheim.
  • …Putting the track temperature at…oh…around 100 billion.
  • …And, if you’re wondering about the wind, it’s at 11-ish mph.
  • …So, there, but not enough to be any more of a concern than usual.
  • And, in the news…
  • …Oh, my god…
  • …Rule-revamping was a bit of a balloon animal show this past week.
  • …Radio exchanges have reopened.
  • …The restrictions proved to be ridiculous, not to mention dangerous.
  • …So, whether (or, not) McLaren’s choice to keep Button’s malfunctioning car out on track was strategic, to prove a point, Button’s crystal clear radio transmissions were received.
  • …Double yellow flags?
  • …Gone.
  • …There will be yellow and red.
  • …So, that’s sorted.
  • …And, that protective “halo” cars have been testing?
  • …They have the rest of this year and all of 2017 to get a design down and make it so.
  • …It will be mandatory equipment in 2018.
  • …Oh, and Bernie Ecclestone’s mother-in-law was kidnapped (in Brazil).
  • …With a $36.5mil ransom.
  • …Yes, in two seasons, Jenson Button and his (now ex-) wife were gassed and burgled in southern France, and, now, this kidnapping.
  • …Because, F1 is a goddamn Bond movie.
  • …Okay, there’s more, but I’m out of time.
  • …So, I’ll catch up as we go.
  • There are four German drivers on the grid.
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, Hülkenberg, and Wehrlein.
  • Here we go!!!
  • Hideous start for Rosberg!
  • Hamilton speeds away.
  • …Followed by the Red Bulls.
  • Massa radios, “Somebody hit me…”.
  • …So, stay tuned for that aftermath.
  • Rosberg takes the fight to Ricciardo.
  • …But, Ricciardo is not having it.
  • …They go wheel-to-wheel around the turns.
  • …But, the Red Bull speeds off.
  • The German Grand Prix is back…
  • …And, it’s goddamn crazy business as usual!
  • At Lap 7…
  • …It’s Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Rosberg, and Vettel on top.
  • …With Räikkönen, Bottas, Hülkenberg, Button, and Alonso in the top 10.
  • …And, Massa, Sainz, Magnussen, Perez, Grosjean, Gutierrez, Wehrlein, Ericsson, Haryanto, Palmer, Kvyat, and Nasr with their eyes firmly on that top ten.
  • …Because, you just never know.
  • So much pitting.
  • …The standings have all gone Mr Kite.
  • …If you’re not familiar with the story of The Beatles’ “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”…
  • …To get those spacey loops, they cut the tape, tossed it in the air, and put it (back) together.
  • …One of my favorite childhood stories.
  • …While everyone else was listening to Debi Gibson and Tiffany, my repeat-play albums were ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’.
  • …On vinyl.
  • …Because, there were cassettes and vinyl.
  • …(Definitely) not because I was cool.
  • …Anyway, I will (always) take the opportunity to tell that story.
  • …I don’t give a shit if you’ve heard it.
  • Okay, the pitting frenzy has settled…
  • …So…
  • …At Lap 20…
  • …Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Rosberg, and Vettel go right back to where they were.
  • …Räikkönen, Bottas, Hülkenberg, Button, and Gutierrez rock the top ten.
  • …And, Alonso, Perez, Magnussen, Massa, Sainz, Grosjean, Kvyat, Wehrlein, Ericsson, Palmer, Haryanto, and Nasr are (still) very much at the party.
  • Haryanto is driving on borrowed time this weekend.
  • …He has a full-season contract.
  • …However, it is contingent upon financing.
  • …Which expired after Hungary.
  • …Super-weird timing, right?
  • …With one race (this one) to go before the break?
  • …And, just days between them?
  • …Anyway…
  • …Manor had no interest in tossing someone (else) in the car this weekend.
  • …So, they opted to just run him.
  • …It was all very silly.
  • …So, they made the right choice.
  • …Whether, or not, Rio will be in that seat, come August, will just have to be seen.
  • …But, that’s what’s up there.
  • Also, like last weekend, select corners are being monitored (electronically).
  • …So, drivers get three track limit violations.
  • …Then, they go to time prison.
  • At Lap 29…
  • …We are seeing some second stops.
  • …There have been quite a few complaints about rear balance.
  • …So, maybe, there is some mind-changing on the tire choices.
  • Vettel…
  • …Blue Flags.
  • …It’s (already) started.
  • …And, I couldn’t be happier.
  • …Love me some Svettel.
  • …Love me some annoyed Hans Strudel.
  • Holy shit!
  • …Rosberg just ran Verstappen off track!
  • …Completely, 100%, blatantly!
  • …In the onboard replay, Rosberg was controlling the wheel with shits…
  • …And, they just weren’t there.
  • …Like, no effort.
  • …I mean, I can see wanting to do that to Verstappen.
  • …Especially, after he trashed Kimi’s left-front wing last weekend, in a blatant blocking frenzy.
  • …That went unpunished.
  • …(Not even an investigation.)
  • …But, that was seriously obvious.
  • …And, when you’re fighting at the top, (maybe) not the best idea.
  • …But, you know, I think everyone gets it.
  • …Yep, five-second penalty for Rosberg.
  • Right, so…
  • …A few laps ago, Massa went in for a pit stop.
  • …And, it was very long.
  • …With a lot of focus on his left-rear wheel.
  • …He’d been complaining about performance.
  • …So, they were not only examining it.
  • …NBCSN’s Will Buxton is reporting that they were taking photos of it.
  • …Williams has had a disastrous season.
  • …So, I’m sure anything they can do to learn more, any information they can gather, the better.
  • …Massa wasn’t in points contention, so they might as well, eh?
  • At Lap 38…
  • …With some pitting (and a penalty) to take into consideration…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Vettel lead.
  • …With Räikkönen, Hülkenberg, Bottas, Button, and Alonso rounding out the top ten.
  • …And, Perez, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Sainz, Magnussen, Kvyat, Wehrlein, Ericsson, Palmer, Nasr, and Haryanto (still) very much in it.
  • …And, Williams has just pulled Massa into the garage.
  • Grosjean has radioed Haas…
  • …Reporting that he’s seeing smoke coming from the rear.
  • …They are looking into it.
  • …Hopefully, his day won’t end in a full cloud.
  • Ricciardo passes Verstappen.
  • …Without pushing him off track.
  • …And, without Verstappen blocking him.
  • Verstappen has been complaining of control issues through most of the race.
  • …He is (now) radioing with understeer issues (specifically).
  • …And, you can see it as he goes around the turns.
  • On top of his impending time penalty…
  • …Rosberg appears to be having some performance issues.
  • …But, what are they?
  • Rosberg pits for his time penalty.
  • …And, such.
  • Verstappen grabs some new tires.
  • Alonso takes an on-off-on slide.
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • Vettel pits.
  • Arm pits.
  • Tar pits.
  • The Peach Pit.
  • …I caught the beginning of a “Beverly Hills 90210” episode a few days ago.
  • …Memories of it came flooding back.
  • …I’m sorry.
  • …By the way, when I say “tar pits”…
  • …Note that I’m thinking of the “Dinosaurs” episode, addressing chucking the elderly into tar pits.
  • …”Let’s watch that in slo-mo!”
  • At Lap 50…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Rosberg, and Vettel lead.
  • …Räikkönen, Bottas, Hülkenberg, Button, and Alonso rock the top ten.
  • …Like David Hasselhoff.
  • …Oh, you knew that was coming.
  • …And, Perez, Sainz, Magnussen, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Kvyat, Ericsson, Wehrlein, Palmer, Nasr, and Haryanto are (still) in the race…
  • …Just waiting for any significant winds of change.
  • …I stand by every, single one of my German references.
  • …All the time.
  • …I’m not allowed anywhere near Germany.
  • …No matter how much my family and I are looking for sechs.
  • Ooohhh, Gutierrez…
  • …Every week…
  • …Making life difficult for every car that dares to try to lap him.
  • …This time, it was Ricciardo.
  • …Who radioed Red Bull…
  • …”I love this guy.”
  • …To which they responded, “He’s doing it to everyone, he’s not just singling you out”.
  • …Magic.  Of.  The.  Moment.
  • Button has radioed with some problem.
  • …Looking for confirmation that it’s both cars.
  • …Which he received.
  • …With less than ten laps to go.
  • Ooo!
  • …Sprinkles!
  • …Let’s do this!
  • Nasr has stopped on track.
  • …At Lap 62.
  • …My guess would be that the Sauber had been experiencing problems all race.
  • …That he was (knowingly) just driving it to expiration.
  • …Running at the rear from the start.
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg passes Bottas (for seventh).
  • …Thus, taking (back) his Qualifying place.
  • Ooo…
  • …Things are getting a tad moist.
  • …Just a tad, though.
  • …However, a tad can be all it takes to fuck everything up.
  • Prediction…
  • …Vettel and Räikkönen will win.
  • …They will cross the checkered flag together.
  • …Because, they’re BFFs.
  • …But, blocking the line will be Gutierrez.
  • …Just for fun.
  • Alonso and Perez are battling for that final point.
  • …They go wheel-to-wheel.
  • …Perez takes 10th.
  • Button overtakes Bottas (for eighth).
  • …BUT BOT.
  • Final lap.
  • Gutierrez overtakes Alonso.
  • …For 11th.
  • …Alonso takes it back.
  • Checkered flag…
  • Hamilton wins.
  • Ricciardo takes second.
  • Verstappen takes third.
  • Rosberg takes fourth.
  • Vettel comes in fifth.
  • Räikkönen yoinks sixth.
  • Hülkenberg maintains seventh.
  • Button’s last-minute effort gets him eighth.
  • Bottas slips to ninth.
  • And, Perez’s late charge puts him in 10th.
  • Gutierrez, Alonso, Grosjean, Sainz, Kvyat, Magnussen, Wehrlein, Ericsson, Palmer, and Haryanto rock the task like a fucking hurricane.
  • So, just for your information…
  • …A German team (Mercedes, Constructors’ Championship leaders) took the win.
  • …And, all four German drivers finished.
  • …With Rosberg in fourth, Vettel in fifth, Hülkenberg in seventh, and Wehrlein in 17th.
  • …There (really) isn’t much to say about that, is there?
  • …Part of the reason the German Grand Prix is in danger is a lack of interest.
  • …If you’ve noticed, those stands have been pretty empty all weekend.
  • …And, that’s with four German drivers.
  • …One, Rosberg, who is in the fight for the Drivers’ Championship.
  • …Another, Vettel, a four-time World Champion.
  • …Hülkenberg, a fighter with a Le Mans title.
  • …And, Wehrlein, an up-and-comer who scored Manor’s only point of the season (to date), only the second points race in the team’s history.
  • …Is it the price of tickets?
  • …Oh, definitely.
  • …I don’t know what the pricing at Hockenheim is, but a Grand Prix weekend at Austin will set you back a few hundred for tickets (alone, for one person).
  • …So, tack on travel-related costs, you’ll be (potentially/likely) looking into the thousands.
  • …Which puts all the pressure on locals and those who either can drop that much that fast, or have a solid savings for F1 races.
  • …But, I would (also) like to toss it out there, that their top German drivers are…kinda…sorta…dicks.
  • …Okay, look, I like Rosberg a lot.
  • …And, my deep, borderline-creepy love of Vettel is no secret.
  • …But, think about it, think of what comes out of their mouths, of their track behavior…
  • …I’m a dick, so I’m cool with it.
  • …But, I can see it being quite alienating.
  • …It’s just a theory.
  • …Guys, don’t change.
  • …I’m very into it.
  • Podium time!
  • …Oh…hey…yeah…
  • …Now that’s how it’s done!
  • …Ricciardo has just poured champagne into his shoe…
  • …And, is drinking it.
  • …Daniel Ricciardo just continues to win at life.
  • …Okay, yeah, that makes sense.
  • …If you were wondering where the couple extra fans came from…
  • …They came from The Netherlands.
  • …It’s a small, inland sea of Dutch flags.
  • …So, they were imported.
  • …Aw, good.
  • …Hamilton mentioned that he’s going to hang out with his dogs (over break).
  • …The break will give him time to go everywhere and do everything…
  • …AND, snuggle his puppies hardcore.
  • …Maybe spend some time at the beach.
  • …Which they seem to love.
  • …Roscoe’s a beach bum.
  • …Coco’s a little mermaid.
  • …Cuter than a mermaid, though built a bit similarly.
  • …If you know your mermaid theory, you’ll get that.
  • …Anyway, that’s the side of Hamilton I love.
  • …The genuinely good guy, who hangs out with his dogs and family.
  • …As opposed to the rock star driver showman, hanging out with celebrities.
  • …He’s earned both.
  • …And, seems to be able to balance both.
  • …But, I like the quiet puppy snuggler.
  • Some post-race interview information…
  • …Kimi is saying that their performance came down to a lack of grip.
  • …It just wasn’t there, there wasn’t much they could do.
  • …Button reports that the McLaren problem was fuel.
  • …Both cars were running on the low side.
  • …Hence, Alonso’s sudden drop, immediately following a surge.
  • …The final laps were all about holding on as tightly as possible…
  • …While conserving fuel.
  • …Rosberg needs to go home, (maybe) grab some ice cream.
  • …I hear Vivi’s in Ibiza has some pretty sweet treats.
  • …Um…
  • …If you’re not aware, Vivian Rosberg has a little ice cream shop in Ibiza.
  • …Ridiculously adorable.
  • …Very Ibiza outdoor seating.
  • …Just cute and cozy…
  • …And, my god, the food looks delicious.
  • …A full menu of various classics and concoctions.
  • …Vegan treats, non-frozen options…
  • …I’m going to just go for it and say that it’s a pretty perfect representation of the Rosbergs’ cool, casual happy place.
  • …Which I think is important to mention, after calling him (and Vettel) a dick.
  • …He’s a good dick.
  • …And, seems to reserve it for races.
  • …These guys, like celebrities, like anyone, have to draw lines between personal and professional, and, often, different personas develop.
  • …I am a total fucking dick at work.
  • …It’s just something that devolved.
  • So, that said…
  • …I wish everyone a spectacular break of rest, relaxation, and being yourself!!!
  • …And, to Emilia Pikkarianen, fiancee of Valtteri Bottas, nothing but of the best of luck in your third Olympic endeavor!
  • …Likewise, to NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey, who will be covering the action in Rio, go forth and rock it!
  • …And, to Kimi Räikkönen and Minttu Virtanen, you’ve been together for a years, you have a kid, you’re grownups, go forth and just enjoy that wedding as nothing more than a fun celebration of symbolism and otherwise dull paperwork!
  • I have nothing to share, as far as break plans go.
  • …Work?
  • …WRC Rallye Deutschland kicks off August 18th, so there’s that.
  • …Yeah, I know, looking at that lineup, I should (probably) take German lessons in that interim.
  • …Ack, I was just so bad at it (in middle school).
  • …But, if Svettel would like to try to teach me, I feel like that might work.
  • …Like, he knows the important things.
  • …The worst things, the dirtiest things, how to say important things like, “Everyone’s pitting, the standings have all gone Mr. Kite”.
  • …I feel like he could help with that, because he gets it.
  • …So, I know he’s busy, with life and all.
  • …But, I mean, I’d appreciate it to no end.
  • …I promise not to hit on you?
  • …(Seriously, I make ‘Anchorman”s Brick look like a master pick-up artist; but I can make sure anyone I’m remotely interested in ends up married to the love of their life.  True talent, right there.)
  • …Bygones.
  • Before I go…
  • …Which, I imagine, will be much welcomed (after all that)…
  • …Some Championship updates, as we say goodbye to the first half of the 2016 season.
  • The Drivers’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton – 217 / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg – 198
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo – 133 / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen – 122
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – 120 / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – 115
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas – 58 / Force India’s Sergio Perez – 48
  • …Williams’ Felipe Massa – 38 / Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg – 33
  • …Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. – 30 / Haas’ Romain Grosjean – 28
  • …McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – 24 / 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
  • The Constructors’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes – 415 / Red Bull – 256 / Ferrari – 242 / Williams – 96
  • …Force India – 81 / Toro Rosso – 45 / McLaren – 42 / Haas – 28
  • …Renault – 6 / Manor – 1 / Sauber – 0
  • So, now, forget every one of those numbers.
  • …There’s nothing you can do about the past.
  • …And, you know what John Lennon had to say about plans.
  • …And, the proof his death provided.
  • Forget about silly season.
  • …I’m fucking talking to you, Kvyat.
  • …You’re the real deal, complete with young driver diamond metaphors.
  • …Ask Perez about team mismanagement of young talent and unfair pressure.
  • …And, Magnussen and Gutierrez about losing seats – and bouncing back with even more ferocity.
  • …Then, chill.
  • Forget about the next round.
  • …Belgium.
  • …The infamous Spa.
  • …With Free Practice 1 kicking off on August 28th.
  • And…
  • …Everyone…
  • …Just enjoy your break.
  • It will (all) be alright.
  • …Even if it’s not.
  • …It will be.
  • …And, there’s very little you can do to control it right now.
  • So…
  • …Back to your lives, everyone.
  • …Toss out an Instagram of your misadventures here and there.
  • Fun, fun, fun on the Autobahn!
  • See you in a month-ish!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF HUNGARY (22.7.2016 – 24.7.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning!
  • Question…
  • …Are you hungry?
  • Because, I’m hungry.
  • I’m hungry for Hungary.
  • Okay…
  • …That was lame.
  • Anyway…
  • …If you can’t see where that was going…
  • …Welcome to Hungary, anyway.
  • …Which, if you’re in the US, is on NBCSN.
  • The Hungarian Grand Prix.
  • …Otherwise known as…
  • …Formula 1 Magyar Nagydíj 2016.
  • …All of which, however you prefer it (all), goes down at F1’s favorite parasitic malady petrie dish…
  • …The Hungaroring.
  • …In Budapest, Hungary (if you didn’t get that memo).
  • …Which is 4.381km (2.722mi) in length.
  • …Has 14 turns.
  • …Giving it a shape reminiscent of a bust of Johnny Bravo.
  • …The cartoon character, not the rock god thing those pseudo-hippie producers had a suit for on “The Brady Bunch” (they recruited Greg, because he  “fit the suit” – literally).
  • …Which is run clockwise.
  • …For 70 (scheduled) laps (today).
  • …Giving it a goal total distance of 306.630km (190.531mi)
  • …”Goal”, as this is F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most of it will.
  • …However, for those anticipating action on par with yesterday’s Q1 fiasco…
  • …In which a drenched, newly-resurfaced track led to four Red Flags.
  • …Don’t hold your breath.
  • …It is 82F (100 billion on track), and just a tad cloudy.
  • …With no rain forecasted.
  • Speaking of yesterday’s Qualifying…
  • …How about that starting grid?
  • …How about I put each driver’s 2015 results next to their name?
  • …Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (8) / Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (10)
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (3) / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (4)
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (1) / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. (DNF)
  • …McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (5) / McLaren’s Jenson Button (9)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (DNF) / Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (13)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean (7) / Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (2)
  • …Force India’s Sergio Perez (DNF) / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (DNF)
  • …Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez (N/A) / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr (11)
  • …Renault’s Jolyon Palmer (N/A) / Williams’ Felipe Massa (12)
  • …Renault’s Kevin Magnussen (N/A) / Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (10)*
  • …Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein (N/A) / Manor’s Rio Haryanto (N/A)
  • …*A broken chassis from his Q1 crash will start Ericsson from pitlane today.
  • Hmmm…
  • …Anything else?
  • Well…
  • …Mercedes last won in Hungary in 2013.
  • …Which was Lewis Hamilton’s second Hungarian Grand Prix win in a row.
  • …And, fourth win in Budapest.
  • …So, take that information, call a side of a coin, and flip it.
  • The other (past) Hungarian Grand Prix winners on the grid are…
  • …Vettel (2015), Ricciardo (2014), Button (2011, 2006), Räikkönen (2005)…
  • …And, Alonso, whose 2003 win made him F1’s youngest winner.
  • …(He’s since been overtaken by Vettel and our little teen wonder, Verstappen.)
  • And…
  • …It’s worth noting that this is the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
  • …Which makes is a rather huge step in the history of sports and global politics.
  • …Having run its first laps behind the Iron Curtain.
  • …Hey, it’s a cool factoid for nerds like me.
  • Also…
  • …Track limits will be policed electronically.
  • …With sensors strategically placed.
  • And, of course, there are those radio rules.
  • …Basically, if a driver reports a problem…
  • …All a team can do is call a car in.
  • …To either fix it, or retire it.
  • …So, while the Cold War missiles may be gone…
  • …There’s a potential for all sorts of mechanical loose canons on track.
  • …But, I’ll hold back on another round of ranting on safety.
  • …For now.
  • Here we go!!!
  • Red Bull are going for it!
  • Ricciardo passes both Mercs!
  • …Ooohhh, but they take it back.
  • …With Hamilton in the lead.
  • …But, my god, are the Red Bulls giving them a fight!
  • Wehrlein has lept up to 17th and speeding along.
  • …Never forget those Manors.
  • Alonso leapfrogs compatriot Sainz.
  • …For sixth.
  • At Lap 6…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Verstappen, and Vettel lead.
  • …With Alonso, Sainz, Bottas, Hülkenberg, and Grosjean in the top ten.
  • …And, Räikkönen, Gutierrez, Perez, Nasr, Palmer, Wehrlein, Magnussen, Massa, Kvyat, Haryanto, Ericsson, and Button (still) in it.
  • Minttu!!!
  • …Shot of Minttu Virtanen.
  • …Kimi’s fiancee.
  • …Mom of Robin.
  • Okay…
  • …If you’re wondering where the hell Button went…
  • …He’s got some mechanicals.
  • …He radioed that his foot is to the floor, but nothing is happening.
  • …They’ve told him to stay out.
  • …Which threw his wonderful sarcasm into beautiful overdrive.
  • …Oh, but these radio restrictions are great.
  • …It has been reported that they’re under investigation.
  • …As they did slip and tell him to keep shifting.
  • …Nothing specific, just to keep shifting and stay out.
  • …And…
  • …Yep…
  • …A drive-through penalty for Button.
  • …For that slip.
  • …I mean…
  • …Silliness.
  • …Reckless silliness.
  • …A driver experiencing an unresponsive car is a danger on track.
  • …One doesn’t have to think long to picture the sorts of accidents that could be caused in that fast-moving, everything happening everywhere at once, traffic.
  • …So, slow clap for the radio rules.
  • While the Button silliness was going down…
  • …Verstappen radioed that he’s “…driving like a grandma…”.
  • …Okay…
  • …Who are these bozos who are anti-radio?
  • …Man, I want to hear every goddamn thing!
  • …About every goddamn thing!
  • …Also, just think…
  • …What Verstappen considers ‘grandma’ could be what most of these other guys call ‘mom’.
  • …Young, so young.
  • More radio from Button.
  • …Who has just said what I just said.
  • …The situation, with no radio instruction,in track traffic, is a safety issue.
  • …Thank.  You.  Jenson.  Button.
  • …A big-ass, born in ’80 high-five to you, sir.
  • So…
  • …There’s been pitting.
  • …Which has led to a bit of a traffic jam behind Bottas.
  • …Who isn’t going to make their lives any easier.
  • …Neither is Kimi…
  • …Who has just zipped past Verstappen.
  • …Oldest versus youngest.
  • …Always a good time.
  • …You know, youth dominance in F1 is a (relatively) new thing.
  • …The sport used to be dominated by the 40+ crowd.
  • …I don’t know when things got so ageist.
  • …But, I would like to point out all the mid-30s guys who are (still) very much at the top of their game.
  • At Lap 21…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Vettel, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …Verstappen, Perez, Palmer, Magnussen, and Alonso round out the top ten.
  • …With Sainz, Bottas, Massa, Kvyat, Hülkenberg, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Haryanto, Nasr, Wehrlein, Button, and Ericsson (still) very much in it.
  • If you’re looking at those standings, and wondering what the fuck is going on…
  • …There’s just been a pitting flurry.
  • …And, passing is (notoriously) difficult at the Hungaroring.
  • …So, it’s like being stuck in traffic.
  • …And, some guys are having car problems.
  • …That there’s nothing they can do about.
  • …Because, the powers that be are the library ghost in ‘Ghostbusters’.
  • …”GET HER!!!”
  • Mercedes has radioed Hamilton to “Pick the pace up a little bit”.
  • …How the fuck is that legal?
  • …I mean, come on.
  • …”GET THEM!!!”
  • Even with DRS enabled…
  • …Verstappen just can’t get around Kimi.
  • …And, to those questioning Kimi’s contract extension…
  • …This is why.
  • …These guys can not only (still) get the job done…
  • …They’ve got invaluable experience to back it up.
  • On a race-unrelated, programming related note…
  • …I fucking hate all these fucking beer commercials revolving around fitness.
  • …Passionately.
  • …Like, my eyes go back in my head and I make gagging faces.
  • …I (also) fucking hate Audi ads…
  • …Now that they’ve shifted from catering to sporty women…
  • …To total fucking douchebags.
  • …I’m never going to work in the auto industry, am I?
  • …Eh, whatever.
  • …I’m old enough to have accepted that long ago.
  • Oh, hey, the race!
  • Kimi has (finally) pitted.
  • …But, it was good.
  • …A brief battle with fellow old fart Alonso ensues.
  • …Aaannnddd, guess what Verstappen is looking at in his mirrors.
  • …I know I’ve asked this before, but…
  • …Do you think drivers can feel those Nordic eyes on them?
  • …Does it burn their souls?
  • …That said, it may be advantageous to be a teenager.
  • …We’ve all been there.
  • …They don’t give a shit.
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • …No word on whether he struggles with not making armpit fart noises at the mention of “pit”.
  • …Anyway, he emerges just a tad back.
  • …And, has been zipping his way (back) up.
  • …Which may be problematic, as he’s hit Verstappen and Vettel.
  • …Oh, crap!
  • …Which feminine hygiene company uses “Hail to the V”?
  • …Oh, I’m blanking!
  • …Anyway…
  • …You can use that information how you’d like.
  • …Also, you can call me your pusher, dealer, arms provider, or whatever.
  • …It’s (all) good.
  • Oh!
  • …I keep forgetting to mention that Kvyat was penalized for speeding in the pitlane.
  • …There was a little break dust.
  • …It was pretty obvious.
  • Verstappen has been given a track-limit warning.
  • …At Turn 11.
  • …You get three strikes.
  • …So, that’s how the new electronic policing is working thus far.
  • Apparently, Mercedes has shared their pitting plans for Rosberg with Hamilton.
  • …So, again, I have to ask…
  • …What the fuck?
  • …Button’s car is unresponsive…
  • …With traffic zipping all around him…
  • …But, McHonda can’t say a thing.
  • …However, it’s okay to tell Hamilton to put his foot down and when to do it?
  • …Am I taking fucking crazy pills?
  • …Because, one sounds a lot like performance coaching, while the other sounds like accident-prevention, to me.
  • …And, the punishments seem to be reversed.
  • Uh-oh…
  • …Remember when Red Bull weren’t ready for Ricciardo…
  • …After calling him in to pit?
  • …Because, Force India don’t.
  • …They’ve just botched Perez’s stop.
  • …Not -as- unprepared as that Ricciardo flub.
  • …They had their stuff.
  • …They just weren’t in position.
  • …And, it was just shortly after Hülkenberg has pitted.
  • At Lap 45…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Räikkönen, and Vettel lead.
  • …Verstappen, Alonso, Sainz, Bottas, and Kvyat complete the top ten.
  • …And, Palmer, Hülkenberg, Gutierrez, Perez, Grosjean, Magnussen, Nasr, Ericsson, Massa, Button, Wehrlein, and Haryanto are (still) very much in it.
  • …Or, in it and suffering all sorts of mechanicals.
  • …Which could explode into chaos, tossing the standings like confetti, at any moment.
  • …Just saying.
  • Perez radios his team…
  • …”Why weren’t you ready?”
  • …They’ll discuss it later.
  • …They should discuss it with his dad.
  • …Who loves life and having fun.
  • …But, who can just look terrifyingly intimidating.
  • …He’s fun, I like him!
  • Kvyat pits…
  • …Serving his five-second penalty while there.
  • Big spin for Palmer!
  • …With an equally big recovery.
  • …Oh!
  • …But, right ahead of the speeding leaders!
  • …That was a little frightening.
  • …Plus, Vettel had just bitched about a lack of Blue Flags.
  • …Again.
  • …The Ferrari boys are the best at yelling about Blue Flags.
  • …(Blue Flags let the slower cars know that the faster cars are coming back around, and that they need to move aside.)
  • Track limit violation warning Number 2 for Verstappen.
  • …This time at Turn 4.
  • Kimi has pitted.
  • …He reenters behind Verstappen.
  • Alonso gets his third track limit warning.
  • …Okay, so, clarification…
  • …You -get- three.
  • …A fourth gets you a penalty.
  • Gutierrez is under investigation for ignoring the Blues Flags.
  • …Basically, he got in Hamilton’s way.
  • …Hamilton expressed his thoughts with his hand.
  • …But, we’ll see what Race Control has to say.
  • Räikkönen and Verstappen continue to go at it.
  • …Now, remember, Kimi started from P14.
  • …This fight is for fifth.
  • …With an absolute powerhouse of who’s who-s ahead.
  • …So, no matter what, Kimi kicked ass today.
  • Five-second stop-and-go for Gutierrez.
  • Oh!
  • …And, Verstappen’s blocking has led to contact!
  • …As Kimi carries on with a pretty badly damaged left-front wing.
  • …And, yes, here comes the radio yelling.
  • …I could listen to the Ferrari boys all race, I (really) could.
  • …And Button.
  • …Vettel and Räikkönen’s yelling and natural swearing.
  • …And Button’s never-ending supply of aggressive (sometimes passive, sometimes not-so-much) sarcasm.
  • …These guys just say shit.
  • …They just don’t care.
  • Verstappen is complaining that “Kimi is going outside the track limits”.
  • …Okay, that was such a teen thing to radio.
  • …Toss the older guy under the bus to try to make a point.
  • …Like, ‘Well, he did it, too – look at him – see!’.
  • …I feel that there’s a classic ‘Beetlejuice’ quote for that…
  • …’KIDS – YOU KNOW I LOVE ‘EM!”
  • …Thus far, it does not appear that any investigation over Verstappen’s (seemingly) excessive blocking has taken place.
  • SLAPS!
  • …5 laps remaining!
  • Button has retired.
  • …Yes, he drove that thing that long.
  • …On the up-side, no one was killed.
  • …So, that’s nice.
  • As the race winds down…
  • …Vettel is all over Ricciardo.
  • …For third.
  • …As Räikkönen continues to ride Verstappen.
  • …For fifth.
  • …With that disabled front wing.
  • …Because, he’s fucking Kimi, bitches.
  • …Yes, those are two (different) battles.
  • …Two Ferraris on two Red Bulls.
  • …So, it’s understandable, if you got a little lost in the visuals.
  • Kimi shouts a little more into the radio.
  • …Complete with cursing.
  • …Basically, he’s sick of Verstappen’s questionable defensive tactics.
  • Final lap.
  • Checkered flag.
  • Hamilton crosses the line first.
  • …His fifth win at Hungary.
  • …And, no one notices.
  • …Seriously.
  • …That was a little weird.
  • Rosberg takes second.
  • And, now to where all eyes were…
  • Ricciardo wins the battle for the final step on the podium.
  • Vettel settles for a very respectable fourth.
  • Verstappen takes the battle for fifth.
  • Räikkönen’s broken Ferrari crosses the line in sixth.
  • Alonso holds onto seventh.
  • Sainz takes eighth.
  • Bottas nabs ninth.
  • And, it’s Hülkenberg who takes that coveted last point.
  • With that botched pit stop leaving Perez in 11th.
  • Palmer, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Magnussen, Kvyat, Nasr, Massa, Wehrlein, Ericsson, and Haryanto all fought hard, survived, and come away with a lot of positives – and stories to tell.
  • And, Button stands as the lone retirement.
  • …After being left out in the cold of a highly precarious position for way too long.
  • …Welcome to radio-free F1.
  • …Gross.
  • Okay, let’s to this podium thing.
  • …With this win, Hamilton overtakes Rosberg for the Championship lead.
  • …So, there are non-verbal reactions to that to look for.
  • When asked if Gutierrez wasn’t going to be invited to Hamilton’s next sailing trip…
  • …Hamilton responded that, “Nah, it’s all good”…
  • …And noted that traffic was a challenge today.
  • …As I mentioned, the Hungaroring isn’t a great place for passing.
  • …And, from the sound of it, the Blue Flags may have been a bit delayed.
  • …So, I think the Ferrari boys said what needed to be said.
  • Okay…
  • …Well…
  • …That’s that for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
  • …I don’t know…
  • …Was it more boring, or exciting?
  • …I mean, F1 is never boring.
  • …But, on the grand Grands Prix spectrum…
  • …Maaayyybeee a little…
  • …Anticlimactic?
  • …Some good battles, some exciting shifts on the leader board…
  • …But…
  • …On top of the passing difficulties…
  • …Maybe there were some feelings of restrictions…
  • …Between the radio clampdown and the track limit enforcements.
  • …Maybe it was full domination by the team that dominates every race, at a race expected to give others their shot.
  • …Maybe it was just a lack of proper preparedness, as can happen when cars run in crap conditions, never getting a real trial run in race day conditions.
  • …I don’t know.
  • …Some days, there’s just something missing.
  • …However…
  • …I cannot stress enough that there were (absolutely) come great battles.
  • …And a ton of positives to take away from it.
  • …I can (safely) say that everyone gave their all (today).
  • …As seen, clear as day, in the shifting standings.
  • …It was tight.
  • …From beginning to end.
  • …So, onward and upward.
  • Oh, and those radio restrictions are ridiculous.
  • If F1, really and truly, wants to not only prioritize safety…
  • …But, advance precautions…
  • …They need to just allow those mechanical discussions.
  • …If they would like to clamp down on ‘performance coaching’…
  • …Why not start with directives such as “put your foot down”…
  • …Or, sharing a teammate’s pit schedules?
  • …I mean, how hard is that?
  • …Really?
  • …”Did you tell your driver to go faster?”
  • …”Did you share information on where other drivers are, and how far behind they are?”
  • …”Yes?”
  • …”That’s coaching.”
  • …Get your shit together, F1.
  • That said…
  • …I love it.
  • …And, there’s one (more) round before Summer Break.
  • …Which is…
  • …Germany!
  • …It’s back!
  • …As it should be!
  • …It will be at Hockenheim (this year).
  • …And, it’s next weekend.
  • …So, buckle up for one last ride.
  • …Before the second half rush.
  • …Germany’s back!!!
  • …How it was ever gone, is beyond me.
  • …But, it’s back!!!
  • Before I sign off…
  • …How about a little look at the Championship standings?
  • The Drivers’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton – 192 / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg – 186
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo – 115 / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen – 114
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – 110 / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – 100
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas – 56 / Force India’s Sergio Perez – 47
  • …Williams’ Felipe Massa – 38 / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. 30
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean – 28 / Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg – 27
  • …McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – 24 / Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – 23
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button – 13 / 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
  • The Constructors’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes – 378 / Ferrari – 224 / Red Bull – 223
  • …Williams – 94 / Force India – 74 / Toro Rosso – 45
  • …McLaren – 38 / Haas – 28 / Renault – 6
  • …Manor – 1 / Sauber – 0
  • Now…
  • …Get ready for Germany…
  • …Because…
  • …”My family and I are looking for Sechs”!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF GREAT BRITAIN (8.7.2016 – 10.7.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning.
  • A very special one.
  • A…
  • …5.891km/3.660mi in length…
  • …18 turns…
  • …Shaped like a laughing Jay Leno…
  • …Run clockwise…
  • …For a (scheduled) 52 laps…
  • …Which will bring the total distance to 306.198km/190.263mi…
  • …At Silverstone Circuit…
  • …2016 Formula 1 British Grand Prix…
  • …Kinda morning.
  • Welcome to Towcester, England.
  • …(Via CNBC, if you’re watching in the US.)
  • …Where it is 68F.
  • …And, is pouring so hard at the moment…
  • …It has been announced that the race -will- start behind the Safety Car.
  • And, here’s how the cars will roll out for that start…
  • …With their 2015 results in parentheses…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton(1) / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (2)
  • …Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (DNF) / Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (DNF)
  • …Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (8) / Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (5)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (7) / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. (DNF)
  • …McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (10) / Force India’s Sergio Perez (9)
  • …Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel* (3) / Williams’ Felipe Massa (4)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean (DNF) / Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez (N/A)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (6) / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen (N/A)
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button (DNF) / Renault’s Jolyon Palmer (N/A)
  • …Manor’s Haryanto (N/A) / Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Felipe Nasr (DNS)
  • …And, following his Q1 crash, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (11) will start from pitlane.
  • …*Vettel Qualified fourth, but an unscheduled gearbox change drops him five.
  • …Yes, again.
  • …Ericsson (also) received a five-place gearbox penalty.
  • …Which kinda/sorta proves the ridiculousness of these mechanical penalties.
  • …I mean, what are the alternatives (to changing broken components)?
  • …Please, I would love to hear them.
  • …If teams started showing a trend of swapping components for an advantage, couldn’t they just launch an investigation and penalize the teams accordingly?
  • …They do love their investigations.
  • …When you see Vettel getting consecutive penalties for confirmed damage-related issues, how can you not see the ridiculousness.
  • Okay…
  • …At Lap 6…
  • …The Safety  Car is in…
  • …Here we go!
  • Here we go to the pits…
  • …To swap Wet for Intermediate tires.
  • …So many close calls in the pitlane frenzy!!!
  • Speaking of close calls…
  • …Through the Safety Car period…
  • …The Safety Car was having grip issues and running a bit slowly.
  • …And, with the Mercs right behind…
  • …I was thinking that it would be okay if they (both) crashed into the Safety Car.
  • …It was an option that I didn’t know existed.
  • …But, now that I do…
  • …Yes.
  • …Then, towards the end of the Safety Car…
  • …Hamilton had a little moment of evasive action…
  • …When he (almost) hit the Safety Car.
  • …It was a nearly magical moment.
  • …And, a lesson in tailgating.
  • …Don’t do it.
  • …Especially in the rain.
  • Ooohhh…
  • …After his brilliant 10th-place run at Austria…
  • …Wehrlein has hydroplaned right off track…
  • …And, into the very wet sand.
  • …Leaving him beached…
  • …But, exiting with huge applause from the crowd.
  • Also, there was a second round of pitting for tires…
  • …With more close calls.
  • …Because, sure.
  • Hülkenberg and Bottas, wheel-to-wheel through the puddles.
  • …Bottas emerges from the spray ahead.
  • …For ninth.
  • Bottas spins!
  • Kids, it’s wet out there.
  • Though the drivers have swapped Wets for Intermediates…
  • …They (still) look like fan boats, flying through the Everglades.
  • …In what is turning out to be a classic British Grand Prix.
  • By the way…
  • …Anxious to pull away…
  • …Hamilton was very vocal in proclaiming the track a-ok as he rode the Safety Car.
  • …I would like to toss out the reminder that he did the same thing at Japan in 2014.
  • …Moral of the story?
  • …Don’t go to Hamilton for weather updates.
  • …His confident focus is 100% on racing.
  • …Go to guys like Ricciardo, who will lean more toward safety…
  • …And, reality.
  • At Lap 13…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen, Perez, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Räikkönen, Sainz, Massa, Hülkenberg, and Alonso running in the top 10.
  • …And, Vettel, Kvyat, Bottas, Button, Nasr, Grosjean, Palmer, Magnussen, Gutierrez, and Haryanto (still) in the running.
  • …Ericsson has joined Wehrlein on the retirement list, after pulling in with engine trouble.
  • Both Mercs pit.
  • …Which gives Verstappen the lead.
  • …And, this 18-year-old kid is going to be a beast to compete with.
  • Alonso and Kimi do a little dance.
  • …But, as two of the four old (mid-thirties) men out there…
  • …They handle it like the responsible World Champions they are.
  • …Angry as Alonso’s radio transmissions sound.
  • Aaannnddd, Vettel spins.
  • Sainz goes into a spin…
  • …But, holds it…
  • …And, treats the crowd to a little drifting.
  • …Rock and fucking roll, kids.
  • Alonso and Massa…
  • …Massa, the same age as Alonso…
  • …Who proclaimed, “I’m too old for this”, after a high-action race ending in 2014…
  • …Go wheel-to-wheel through the puddles.
  • …So, what has this season taught us?
  • …With Rosberg, Hamilton, and Kimi at the front.
  • …Button’s recent surge at the top…
  • …And all that scrappy action between Alonso and Massa just now?
  • …The over-thirties aren’t going anywhere.
  • …Max Verstappen, stay on this track, and you have a very long career ahead of you.
  • Palmer has been slapped with a penalty.
  • …For…
  • …And, this is one of the best pit mishaps, of all the great pit mishaps I’ve seen in a while…
  • …Unsafe release…
  • …After they released him with three wheels.
  • …I mean…
  • Alonso tanks it into the gravel.
  • …Oh, but he’s (still) going!
  • …He’s plowed his way (back) on track!
  • …He’s saved it!
  • …Now, what was I just saying (about these “old” drivers)?
  • Another save from Sainz.
  • Verstappen lost his lead to a slide a bit earlier (as well).
  • Aw…
  • …Haryanto (totally) loses it.
  • …Leaving very clear, very straight, parallel lines all the way to the wall.
  • …Just feet from where Alonso had his off.
  • …So, after such a great run at Austria…
  • …Manor sees a double retirement at Silverstone.
  • …But, everyone’s everywhere.
  • …And, that’s (often) how the Universe’s sick sense of humor works.
  • …So, they shouldn’t feel too bad.
  • Hamilton slides toward the gravel.
  • …But, saves it and carries on.
  • Verstappen, too, takes another escapade onto the grass.
  • …But, also, saves it.
  • At Lap 30…
  • …It’s Hamilton, Verstappen, Rosberg, Ricciardo, and Perez in the lead.
  • …With Räikkönen, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Massa, and Vettel in the points.
  • …And, Kvyat, Button, Alonso, Nasr, Bottas, Magnussen, Gutierrez, and Palmer, just watching and waiting.
  • …Thus far, Wehrlein, Ericsson, Grosjean, and Haryanto are the retirements.
  • …Yes, Grosjean retired.
  • …I lost that in the mix.
  • …And, what a mix it’s been.
  • Usually, it’s Kimi we hear shouting about delays on Blue Flags.
  • …Today, it’s Verstappen.
  • …There’s a lot of traffic, in not-so-great conditions.
  • …So, I’m thinking the more warning these guys get (to get out of the way), the better.
  • Perez takes a huge slide.
  • …But, saves it.
  • …And, his position.
  • Speaking of positions…
  • …Rosberg has tried everything, and then some, to get around Verstappen.
  • …But, the flying Dutchman is in defensive teen mode.
  • …And, we all know how that goes.
  • Shot of Team Principal Spice.
  • Vettel and Massa, through the corners.
  • …However…
  • …Unfortunately…
  • …Vettel lost grip, and slid…
  • …Right in front of Massa.
  • …Massa radioed, “He pushed me off”…
  • …But, honestly, it just looked like Vettel lost it at the worst possible time.
  • …Anyway, they’re (both) fine.
  • Rosberg has (finally) passed Verstappen.
  • …For second.
  • At Lap 40…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Perez lead.
  • …Räikkönen, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Vettel, and Kvyat round out the top ten.
  • …And, Button, Massa, Bottas, Alonso, Nasr, Gutierrez, Magnussen, and Palmer are (still) very much in it.
  • Strike that.
  • …Palmer is listed as stopped.
  • …At his home race debut.
  • Alonso on Bottas.
  • …I just want to hear Alonso say, “Fuck everyone!”.
  • …I’ve got time.
  • …I would (also) like to stop seeing shots of the Williams cars.
  • …It hurts.
  • …Those cars are so bad this season.
  • …Relatively, of course.
  • …But, kind of not relatively.
  • …If those guys can’t squeeze anything out of these cars…
  • …No one can.
  • …It’s just bad, sad, and wrong.
  • Five-second penalty for Vettel.
  • …Yes, the Massa thing.
  • …Unfortunate circumstances, but legitimate.
  • The sun is out…
  • …But, the track remains quite moist.
  • …There was no real reason for that update.
  • …Other than that I’d come this far, and not abused “moist”.
  • …Mmmoooiiisssttt.
  • Jackie Stewart.
  • …Gettin’ his plaid on.
  • …Jackie, Jackie, Jackie…
  • …You need to up your game.
  • …Match your plaid everything to everything next time.
  • …I want a wall of plaid.
  • …Sure, you can mix plaids.
  • Kimi is trying (just about) everything to get around Perez.
  • …But, Perez is Perez.
  • …And, Perez is just one of those walls.
  • Rosberg is losing time.
  • …Mercedes, at the risk of getting slapped with a coaching penalty…
  • …Has informed Rosberg that he’s in ‘chassis default’.
  • …That he has to avoid seventh gear.
  • …And, directly, have instructed him to push through it.
  • …In my mind, this is not performance coaching.
  • …I would classify these conversations under ‘safety’.
  • …But, that’s just me.
  • …I’m not a fan of massive accidents, or fatalities, that could have been prevented through just a few directives.
  • Ginger and Baby Spice!!!
  • …They win!!!
  • …Those are my drivers of the day!!!
  • …I’d seen Geri’s Instagram updates (earlier).
  • …But, it’s (still) everything to see such a Spicy sight.
  • Final lap.
  • Rosberg is running in second.
  • …However, he is not only under investigation.
  • …It will be addressed after the race.
  • …So, if they decide to penalize that ‘coaching’, he could lose his trophy.
  • …And, the guys behind him would lose out on their respective podium.
  • …The second step and trophy for Verstappen.
  • …The podium (altogether) and trophy for Ricciardo.
  • …Which I think is one of the worst evils of motorsport.
  • …I really do.
  • …Total bullshit.
  • …Just mean.
  • Well, that’s that.
  • Hamilton takes his third (consecutive) home Grand Prix.
  • Rosberg takes a tentative second.
  • …No one has any idea how that discussion will go.
  • …Or, what the penalty, if handed down, might be.
  • …So, place and Championship points are up, in the air.
  • And, Verstappen takes the final step of the podium (in third).
  • Ricciardo and Räikkönen complete the top five.
  • …Yes, Kimi passed Perez.
  • …Thus leaving Ferrari with a pretty fresh feeling over re-signing him (for 2017).
  • Perez, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Vettel, and Kvyat round out the top ten, and come away with points.
  • And, Massa, Button, Alonso, Bottas, Nasr, and Gutierrez survive everything that came at them, to finish the race.
  • …With Magnussen, being a late retirement (so late, that his drive -will- count as complete).
  • …Joining Wehrlein, Ericsson, Grosjean, Haryanto, and Palmer as today’s casualties.
  • …22 cars started, 16 passed the checkered flag.
  • Was there a single word between the Mercedes drivers in that backroom?
  • …Hamilton and Verstappen went back and forth a bit.
  • …Debating speed and merit.
  • …Hamilton is on a high, and Verstappen is a teenager.
  • …But, Rosberg just stood back, silently, annoyed.
  • …I mean, I can’t imagine why.
  • …Any of the reasons why.
  • …I don’t know which I like more…
  • …The nice, friendly, happy for one another backrooms.
  • …Or, the hostile ones.
  • …Because, things like Rosberg’s cap throw are just precious.
  • Podium time.
  • Rosberg went to clink with Hamilton…
  • …Hamilton went into a celebration hoist.
  • …Meaningless and coincidental.
  • …But, amusing, nonetheless.
  • …As was Verstappen’s chugging.
  • …Living the teenage dream.
  • Mark Webber has…
  • …A) Pointed out that Verstappen has passed his dad in F1 podiums.
  • …B) Instructed him to enjoy the champagne, as he’s “just legal”.
  • …Because, Webber’s old enough to recognize a party.
  • …Hashtag that ‘TeenageDream’.
  • As the crowd continues to boo Rosberg.
  • …In a combination of being British…
  • …And, retaliation for the booing Hamilton received at Austria.
  • …Stay classy, F1 fans.
  • It has been announced that Rosberg and Mercedes are set to meet with the Stewards at 4pm local to discuss the ‘incident’.
  • …So, in a little under an hour.
  • …10am CT.
  • NBC Sports’ Will Buxton, interviewing Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe.
  • …Who had very little to say…
  • …Other than that the question is where the conversation sits on the legality spectrum.
  • …That there’s no (real) set precedent.
  • …And, that he doesn’t (really) want to comment on it, just because he doesn’t (really) know what’s going to happen (under those circumstances).
  • …Which is all true and correct.
  • …And, is part of the problem at hand.
  • …I mean, really, I think most people would agree that there’s safety at stake in these matters.
  • …So, shouldn’t safety directives override this preconceived notion of every direction being “performance coaching”?
  • …But, it’s (all) up to the stewards.
  • …And, if we’re being honest, what the stewards are feeling on any given day.
  • …But, if anyone needs a random spectator to break down the concerns, I’m available.
  • …I believe very strongly that there is a line between mechanical breakdown prevention and directing drivers through traffic.
  • …One prevents the drivers from (potentially) plowing into said traffic.
  • …Or…
  • …Suck on this one for a bit…
  • …Breaking down and causing a Safety Car period.
  • …Which, in turn, would lead to a grid-load of strategy shifting.
  • …Performance coaching, essentially.
  • …Boom.
  • Also…
  • …I hate to rain (sure) on Hamilton’s British parade, but…
  • …How was riding the Safety Car like that…
  • …So closely that he had to go into the grass to avoid hitting it…
  • …Perfectly okay?
  • …Shouldn’t there be some sort of mandatory distance rule?
  • …Not unlike speeding under a Safety Car period?
  • …Just saying.
  • …No, not that punishments should be across the board…
  • …No Hamilton v. Rosberg silliness…
  • …Just Steward consistency…
  • …And, attention to very real safety concerns.
  • …Should the bottom line not be “crashing, bad”…
  • …Making that the primary focus, and doing what they can to prevent accidents…
  • …Whether it be a mechanical, causing a driver to lose control or break down…
  • …Or, a driver, following a Safety Car at an unsafe distance?
  • …Consistency and logic.
  • …Safety first.
  • …Bottom line.
  • With that said, I’ll just go ahead, drop the mic, and wave my buh-byes to Britain.
  • As of now (subject to change, following the Rosberg/Mercedes decision)…
  • …The Championships standings look like this…
  • Driver’s Championship…
  • …Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg – 171 / Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton – 167
  • …Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen – 106 / Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo – 100
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – 98 / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – 87
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas – 54 / Force India’s Sergio Perez – 47
  • …Williams’ Felipe Massa – 38 / Haas’ Romain Grosjean – 28
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg – 26 / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. – 26
  • …Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – 23 / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – 18
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button – 13 / 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
  • Constructor’s Championship…
  • …Mercedes – 338 / Ferrari – 204
  • …Red Bull – 195 / Williams – 92
  • …Force India – 73 / Toro Rosso – 41
  • …McLaren – 32 / Haas – 28
  • …Renault – 6 / Manor – 1
  • …Sauber – 0
  • Next up…
  • …Hungary.
  • …Not next weekend.
  • …But, the following weekend.
  • …So, everyone (finally) gets a weekend off.
  • …Which is pretty precious this season.
  • …So, everyone, enjoy it.
  • …Unless you’re (Force India boss) Vijay Mallya.
  • …Then, you’re (probably) going to be pretty busy, going back into hiding.
  • …And, trying not to, you know, make any more shitty deals via money laundering and tax evasion, et al.
  • …As for me…
  • …I’m going to sleep in!
  • …So exciting; yay!
  • Have a lovely week-and-a-half-ish!
  • Stay tuned for that Rosberg/Mercedes news.
  • See you in Budapest!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRIA (1.7.2016 – 3.7.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning.
  • Unless you’re just coming off watching the WRC Rally Poland finale.
  • Then…
  • …Eh, (maybe) it could have be a bit better.
  • …Not that the end result wasn’t good and exciting.
  • …But, it was so close to being spectacular.
  • Anyhoo…
  • The hills are alive…
  • …With the sound of F1 cars.
  • Because…
  • …It’s time for the Austrian Grand Prix.
  • …Which is on CNBC, if you’re in the US.
  • Let’s get pumped up with some factoids, shall we?
  • The Formula 1 Großer Preis von Österreich 2016…
  • …Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria.
  • …4.326km/2.688mi in length.
  • …9 turns.
  • …Shaped like a strappy wedge.
  • …And, run clockwise.
  • …There are 71 laps scheduled today.
  • …Which will bring the goal total distance to 307.020km/190.773mi.
  • …But, always remember that this is F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most of those things will.
  • Here is your starting grid…
  • …With last year’s results in parentheses…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (2) / Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (6)
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button (DNF) / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (DNF)
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (10) / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg* (1)
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (5) / Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (8)
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel** (4) / Williams’ Felipe Massa (3)
  • …Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez (N/A) / Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean (DNF) / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (DNF)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. (DNF) / Force India’s Sergio Perez (9)
  • …Renault’s Kevin Magnussen (N/A) / Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (13)
  • …Renault’s Jolyon Palmer (N/A) / Manor’s Rio Haryanto (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Felipe Nasr (11)
  • …And, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (12) will start from pitlane.
  • …*Rosberg qualified second, but drops five (after a gearbox change, following his P3 crash).
  • …**Vettel qualified fourth, but drops five (another gearbox change, following carryover damage from Baku).
  • …Just in, Massa will start from pitlane (Williams has opted to change a troubling front wing and take the penalty, rather than risk a potential safety issue on track).
  • Yesterday, it was 127F on the grid.
  • Today, it’s a mere 57F.
  • The skies are grey.
  • And, here we go!
  • Hamilton zips away.
  • Button and Räikkönen follow.
  • …Yes, the two oldest guys on the grid.
  • …At an unimaginable -gasp- 36.
  • Hülkenberg falls back, but holds after that.
  • Kvyat is off.
  • …And, out.
  • …It appears mechanical.
  • …Nothing remotely as dramatic as yesterday’s Qualifying crash.
  • Rosberg passes Hülkenberg.
  • As does Verstappen.
  • Räikkönen passes Button.
  • …And, here’s where shit could start getting real for the underpowered McHonda.
  • …But, don’t stop believin’.
  • …There’s a World Champion behind the wheel who will hold his own as best as he can.
  • Rosberg passes Button.
  • And, again, Verstappen follows.
  • …He’s like Rosberg’s little shadow today.
  • Just a reminder…
  • …Watch those curbs.
  • …After four (different) constructors saw suspension failure after contact with the curbs…
  • …The FIA, along with the likes of Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe, have taken a close look at them.
  • …The findings were that the increased tire pressure (in play this weekend) is a bad combination with the (otherwise) to-code outer curbs (past the first red/whites).
  • …With the band-aid solution being to instruct drivers to avoid them.
  • …Simple as that.
  • …Yep.
  • …Just, you know, stay within the lines.
  • …There will be no incidents to avoid over those 71 laps, so it should be okay.
  • Just a note…
  • …Wehrlein is in sixth.
  • …I repeat, Wehrlein is in sixth.
  • …And, radioing his team with a ‘light rain’ report.
  • Perez and Sainz have a moment.
  • …Which ended in a Perez pass.
  • …Following an angry Perez hand wave.
  • …Bad touch.
  • Lots of pit stops.
  • …Making the standings messy, messy, messy.
  • Here we go…
  • …Raindrops on roses…
  • …And whiskers on kittens…
  • …Hamilton is leading…
  • …But, Kimi’s hard-hitting…
  • …Lederhosen race suits…
  • …Are just Red Bull’s thing…
  • …Isn’t F1 just a favorite thing?
  • …I’m done.
  • …It’s cool.
  • …I’m cool.
  • Remember when Alonso ran over Räikkönen last year?
  • …The McLaren, parked right on top of the front of the Ferrari?
  • …That has nothing to do with anything going on right now.
  • …But, I thought I’d damage your brain with that memory.
  • Hamilton pits…
  • …It’s not great.
  • …Oh!
  • …Here comes Rosberg!
  • …Hamilton exits behind Rosberg!
  • …Oh, yikes!
  • Kimi (also) pits.
  • …And, exits behind everyone.
  • …Jesus.
  • …That timing did not work at all.
  • …He drops from the lead…
  • …To sixth.
  • …Slow clap.
  • At Lap 26…
  • …Vettel, Rosberg, Hamilton, Verstappen, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …With Räikkönen, Button, Grosjean, Bottas, and Nasr rounding out the top ten.
  • …Kvyat remains the only retirement.
  • Vettel has crashed!!!
  • …He’s stuck on track…
  • …With his rear-right wheel stick under the car.
  • …Oh!  It’s not under him…
  • …The tire is just (completely) blown!
  • …On replay, the tire just exploded…
  • …Flinging the Ferrari into the barriers…
  • …And bouncing it off.
  • …Hosing Rosberg with debris.
  • …Rosberg, immediately radioing his team, requesting checks.
  • So…
  • …Two Ferrari cars…
  • …Two strategies, blown to bits.
  • …Quite literally, in Vettel’s case.
  • Safety Car deployed.
  • At Lap 30…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …Bottas, Nasr, Button, Grosjean, and Magnussen hold the top ten.
  • …With Massa, Palmer, Alonso, Perez, Ericsson, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Gutierrez, Haryanto, and Wehrlein (still) running.
  • …Kvyat and Vettel being the retirements thus far.
  • Shot of Vettel…
  • …Already in jeans…
  • …Storming through to the Ferrari offices.
  • …Looking for his birthday cake?
  • …Happy birthday?
  • A little while back, Wehrlein had complained that Magnussen had been weaving in front of him.
  • …Very blatant blocking.
  • …Oh, speak of the devil…
  • …Just in…
  • …Magnussen has been served a five-second time penalty.
  • Sainz passes Palmer.
  • …In a cloud of brake dust.
  • I do hope Vettel busted in and shouted, “Where’s my fucking cake?”.
  • …I mean, what else is there to say?
  • …At least, civilly?
  • Five-second penalties for Grosjean and Hülkenberg.
  • …Both were busted, speeding in the pitlane.
  • Nasr has pitted…
  • …After 43 laps.
  • …Sauber’s weird.
  • …There you have it.
  • …My analysis and summary of the Sauber situation.
  • …So much working for them.
  • …But, all of it, cancelled out by a hideous financial situation.
  • …Though, I did hear that employees are being paid (again).
  • …So, that’s a start.
  • …You have to start somewhere, and that’s a good place.
  • …Don’t give up on Sauber yet, folks.
  • At Lap 49…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …Bottas, Button, Grosjean, Massa, and Perez round out the top ten.
  • …With Sainz, Alonso, Hülkenberg, Magnussen, Palmer, Ericsson, Wehrlein, Haryanto, Gutierrez, and Nasr (still) very much in the race.
  • …Unlike Kvyat and Vettel, who are out.
  • …Sad.  Pandas.
  • If anyone is wondering if Vettel is pissed…
  • …Why, yes, yes he is.
  • …He’s just grumbled through a brief statement…
  • …Before walking away in German rage.
  • …But, I mean, raise your hand if you’ve had it with years of Ferrari crap.
  • …Years of blaming drivers and throwing away leaders.
  • …There’s good, encouraging pressure.
  • …And, there’s bad, discouraging pressure.
  • …The world is a witness, Ferrari.
  • At Lap 58…
  • …Following a Rosberg pit…
  • …Verstappen, Rosberg, Hamilton, Räikkönen, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Button, Grosjean, Perez, Sainz, and Alonso complete the top ten.
  • …Bottas, Wehrlein, Gutierrez, Massa, Nasr, Palmer, Hülkenberg, Magnussen, Ericsson, and Haryanto follow.
  • …With Kvyat and Vettel, out and about.
  • …Off track, in the world.
  • Rosberg goes in for a pass (on Verstappen).
  • …Denied.
  • …And, again.
  • …Gets the pass.
  • …It’s (now) a Red Bull on Mercedes sammich at the front.
  • It’s that time of the race!
  • …Lapping traffic!
  • …Kimi is shouting about Blue Flags!
  • …Always a crowd pleaser.
  • Hamilton, in the middle of that lapping traffic, slips in a pass on Verstappen.
  • …Sneaky-sneaky!
  • At Lap 66…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Verstappen, Räikkönen, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Button, Grosjean, Perez, Sainz, and Bottas complete the top ten.
  • …With some new retirements to report/throw off the list of those remaining.
  • Williams is pulling Massa into the garage.
  • …For fun?
  • Alonso has (also) ended his run.
  • As has Hülkenberg.
  • Boy, that’s a lotta lotta.
  • So…
  • …That’s Kvyat, Vettel, Massa, Hülkenberg, and Alonso out.
  • Hamilton is closing in on Rosberg.
  • …At Lap 69.
  • …Making it sexual and violent.
  • Final lap.
  • The Mercs hit!!!
  • Hamilton bounces ahead.
  • Rosberg limps away.
  • Perez crashes!
  • …He’s out in the final lap!
  • Did you catch all that?!
  • Toto Wolff caught what his boys did.
  • …And, now, he has to kill the pod people they’d had to use…
  • …After killing their drivers, following their last collision.
  • …Fun fact.
  • Uh…
  • …That’s that?
  • Checkered flag.
  • Hamilton takes the win.
  • Verstappen takes second.
  • Räikkönen yoinks third.
  • …Which means that everyone gets to see Kimi, tossing weirded-out looks in Verstappen’s direction.
  • …He’s made no secret that he finds their age-gap ‘scary’.
  • …Verstappen is literally, mathematically, half Kimi’s age.
  • Rosberg limps to fourth.
  • Ricciardo yodels to fifth.
  • Button takes a hard-earned sixth.
  • Grosjean wrangles a seventh-place return to the points for Haas.
  • …Happy Fourth of July weekend!
  • …Have some fireworks.
  • …Boom.
  • Sainz hangs onto eighth.
  • Bottas brings the remaining Williams a ninth.
  • And, for the first time since Jules Bianchi’s ninth at Monaco 2014…
  • …Which was the first for the team…
  • …Wehrlein takes a 10th-place point home for Manor.
  • …Boom.
  • Then, we have Gutierrez, Palmer, Nasr, Magnussen, Ericsson, and Haryanto.
  • …With Kvyat, Vettel, Massa, Hülkenberg, Alonso, and Perez retiring to the beautiful mountains.
  • Just in…
  • …Rosberg is under investigation for failing to stop his damaged car.
  • Is anyone (else) pretty stoked to see one of those Red Bull lederhosen race suits on the podium?
  • …Because, they’re lederhosen overalls.
  • …They should be on display and celebrated.
  • …For how many years (now) have I been saying that teams should consider tuxedo t-shirt-style overalls?
  • …Many.
  • …So, see?
  • …I was right.
  • …Fancy pants are awesome.
  • SO much booing for the podium.
  • …Okay, okay, okay.
  • …That’s enough.
  • …It was ugly, questionable racing from the Mercs.
  • …But, Toto’s going to send Paddy to kill them.
  • …What more do you need?
  • Shot of Niki Lauda, telling Christian Horner all about the impending fate of their drivers.
  • …Horner, looking very intrigued.
  • …In his lederhosen.
  • …Taking notes, as he’s got a teen on his hands.
  • Shot of Toto Wolff, clearly telling Paddy Lowe, “I need them gone now.”.
  • …You just don’t pull that shit on Toto’s home turf.
  • …Especially, after they’ve been warned/killed before.
  • Oh, my god.
  • …Can we discuss Wehrlein?
  • …He’s been lost in the shuffle.
  • …He’s had an amazing weekend.
  • …Like, spin in the mountains amazing.
  • …Making it to Q2.
  • …Just missing Q3.
  • …Qualifying and starting 12th.
  • …Then, climbing up to sixth.
  • …Getting stuck behind Magnussen’s weird blocking.
  • …Dropping to the back.
  • …Then, coming back to finish tenth.
  • …I’d like to nominate Wehrlein and Button for drives of the day.
  • …With honorable mention to Grosjean.
  • …Underdogs, getting shit done.
  • …I told you that everyone had a chance this season.
  • I’ve just heard Toto Wolff, in his Austrian accent, say…
  • …”It takes two to tango…”.
  • …I’m done.
  • …Forever.
  • …I’ll be saying that all the time (now).
  • …A warning to those around me, who have been dealing with a near-lifetime of Austrian accent-ing.
  • …I’m pretty pumped about this.
  • …Thank you for this gift, Toto Wolff.
  • A chat with Wehrlein…
  • …”I don’t know what happened today.”
  • …Eyes, absolutely sparkling.
  • …Speaking quickly and excitedly.
  • …Like a kid whose just gotten exactly what they wanted, but didn’t think they’d get, on Christmas.
  • …He doesn’t think they can repeat this at Silverstone (the British Grand Prix, next weekend).
  • …But, I think it’s clear that Manor is, in fact, a confirmed contender for points…
  • …Plural…
  • …This season.
  • …Honestly, I stand by my initial take on this season.
  • …Everyone has a chance.
  • And, with that…
  • …So long…
  • …Farewell…
  • …Auf wiedersehen…
  • …Adieu…
  • See you next weekend…
  • …At Silverstone.

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE – BAKU (17.6.2016 – 19.6.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning!
  • Formula 1, meet Baku.
  • Baku, meet Formula 1.
  • Welcome to the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe!
  • Now, let’s hang out.
  • Meet-up on NBCSN, if you’re in the US!
  • Shall we just go for the track details?
  • Baku City Circuit…
  • …Which is a brand, spankin’ new street circuit.
  • …Winding through the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.
  • …Which is the lowest-lying capital…
  • …And, the lowest-lying highest-populated city…
  • …In the world.
  • …At 92-ish feet below sea level.
  • …On the shores of the Caspian Sea.
  • …With the Caucasus Mountains completing the backdrop.
  • …Anyhoo…
  • …The circuit is 6.003km/3.730mi long.
  • …With 20 turns.
  • …(Run clockwise.)
  • …Giving it the shape of a spilled bottle of La Roche-Posay sunscreen.
  • …With both the longest straight on the 2016 calendar.
  • …And, turns measuring just wider than a single car width.
  • …Today, there are 51 laps scheduled.
  • …Which would bring the goal total distance to 306.049km/190.170mi.
  • …However, after all the incidents/near-incidents/offs/valid hesitation seen thus far.
  • …And, the parallel GP2 carnage (yesterday).
  • …I do believe there was a huge pileup between the start and T1.
  • …Followed by something like five red flags.
  • …You’d be hard-pressed to find confidence in meeting those set goals.
  • …It’s a new track, grip is (still) developing and new asphalt oils are (still) surfacing.
  • …And, it’s a city circuit, so all those obstacles…
  • …Bumps, leaves from overhanging trees, oils from traffic, etc…
  • …Apply.
  • …Plus, Baku has a reputation for being one of the windiest cities, if not thee windiest city, in the world.
  • How about the starting grid?
  • …And, I don’t have to list previous results for this one, do I?
  • …Not that I -have- do do anything.
  • …Anyway…
  • …Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg / Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel / Ferrari’s Räikkönen
  • …Williams’ Felipe Massa / Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat
  • …Force India’s Perez / Williams’ Valtteri Bottas
  • …Perez placed second, but was served a five-place penalty for a gearbox change, following his Q3 accident.
  • …Red Bull’s Max Verstappen / Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean / Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg
  • …Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso
  • …Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr
  • …Manor’s Rio Haryanto / Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein
  • …McLaren’s Jenson Button / Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson
  • …Renault’s Kevin Magnussen / Renault’s Jolyon Palmer
  • Weather-wise…
  • …It is (currently) 90F.
  • …Air, not track.
  • …Track temp is at 300 billion.
  • …With significant sun.
  • …Which will make those zips through the shaded parts even more dramatic.
  • …And winds of 13mph (ENE).
  • …Essentially, they’re racing in Hell.
  • …Well, the tagline -is-…
  • …”The Speed is Higher in the Land of Fire”.
  • …So, don’t say they didn’t warn you.
  • …I (always) knew Hell was where the fun is at!
  • …Bygones.
  • Just in…
  • …Enrique Iglesias came for Perez.
  • …His other heroes (prompted by NBCSN’s Will Buxton, perpetuated by Mr Iglesias; thank you) will be Alonso and Sainz.
  • …Don’t forget about Gutierrez!!!
  • …AND, he’s with (American) Haas!!!
  • Question…
  • …Are they going to run into one another during the formation lap?
  • …And, by ‘they’, I mean anyone/everyone.
  • Some grid updates…
  • …A five-place penalty for Sainz (gearbox change).
  • …Magnussen will start from the pits.
  • Here we go!!!
  • Everyone everywhere at the rear!
  • Rosberg pulls away at the front.
  • Castle conga line!
  • Perez is up to fifth.
  • …But, he’s got the Ferraris ahead of him.
  • …All lead positions remain the same.
  • Lap one, over…
  • …Everyone appears to have survived!
  • After much blocking…
  • …Bottas passes Kvyat (for eighth).
  • …Next up, Verstappen.
  • …Who will be defending with serious vengeance.
  • …After yesterday’s questionable Q3 conduct.
  • Hamilton (finally) scoots up a spot.
  • …To ninth.
  • …Which means that he’ll be right on Bottas.
  • …Who will be right on Verstappen.
  • …Who is 18 and will not be budging.
  • Grosjean followed Hamilton (past Kvyat), by the way.
  • Wow, and all that just got very interesting!
  • …The three went at it…
  • …Bottas won seventh.
  • …And, Hamilton took eighth.
  • Vettel has passed Ricciardo.
  • Everyone is pitting.
  • …As if to say, “I meant to do that”.
  • …In response to all the passes.
  • There’s a plastic bag flying around.
  • …Kimi has reported it.
  • …Put your brain in Kimi mode…
  • …Ready?
  • …”There’s some fucking plastic flying around, I had to avoid it!!!”
  • Kvyat’s car has been pulled into the garage.
  • …Game over.
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg has managed to sneak on up to seventh.
  • …Well, if he can’t defend his 2015 Le Mans (rookie) win…
  • …He might as well show everyone just what he can do.
  • …By the way, congrats to Porsche #2, on their win.
  • …In that late-game Toyota overtake.
  • …So many F1 faces racing.
  • …Including Kamui Kobayashi, who will be on the podium (with Toyota) today.
  • …So many “yay”s!!!
  • …Sorry, back to current F1 drivers.
  • Just in (from Le Mans)…
  • …Toyota #5 has been disqualified.
  • …Kobayashi’s car.
  • …After such an amazing performance.
  • …Leading the usual suspects of Porsche and Audi.
  • …The drama doesn’t end at the finish line at Le Mans, does it?
  • Just in from F1…
  • …Kimi is being investigated for crossing the line at pit entry.
  • …Because, you need to stay within the lines.
  • …The lines are their friends.
  • …But, Kimi walks alone.
  • …So, fuck you?
  • Five-second time penalty for Kimi.
  • At Lap 14…
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, and Perez sit in podium position.
  • …With Hamilton and Bottas in the top five.
  • …And, Ricciardo, Hülkenberg, Räikkönen, Massa, and Wehrlein in the top ten.
  • …Kvyat remains the lone retirement.
  • …But, there’s a long way to go.
  • …And, there’s been a lot of pitting.
  • Hamilton radios with brake vibration.
  • Nasr dings a wall.
  • …Nothing comes of it.
  • …Just some flashy pyrotechnics.
  • …Because, F1 is like that.
  • Rosberg, Vettel, and Bottas have yet to pit.
  • …So, watch for changes at the top.
  • Bottas pits.
  • Vettel pits.
  • Rosberg pits.
  • At Lap 22…
  • …Rosberg, Räikkönen, Vettel, Perez, and Hamilton lead.
  • …As Ricciardo, Massa, Bottas, Sainz, and Alonso round out the top ten.
  • …And, Wehrlein has yet to pit.
  • …If you were wondering who has been holding out.
  • …He was in the top ten, so they may be looking to preserve tire freshness for a late-race go.
  • In response to Buxton’s question of how disappointing retirement was, after such a good Qualifying run, Kvyat responded…
  • …He’s fine…”I’m quite used to disappointment lately.”
  • …Oh, good; they’re trying to kill him off.
  • …Slow clap.
  • …I know F1 loves shiny new things, but…
  • …Look at how long it took Perez to bounce back from that kick to the crotch McLaren gave him.
  • …When all he needed was a punch to the face.
  • …Which he wouldn’t have needed, had he not been under so much pressure from McLaren.
  • …And, everyone knew it.
  • …There’s a difference between a punch in the face and a kick to the crotch.
  • …Stop kicking young drivers in the crotch, when all they may need is a little punch to the face.
  • Wehrlein has pitted.
  • Vettel passes Kimi for second.
  • …The team has thanked Kimi.
  • …Who has responded…
  • …Ready?…
  • …In Kimi mode?…
  • …”But, now, you tell him to push – I don’t want him in front of me.”
  • Hamilton is reporting engine problems.
  • …That he can’t figure out, and engineering can’t tell him how to try to fix it.
  • …Simply telling him, “It’s the mode you’re in”.
  • …I feel like they need more work on these radio transmission restrictions.
  • …Preventing major mechanicals doesn’t feel like dirty coaching to me.
  • …But, I guess there’s a slippery slope to contend with.
  • …Despite the struggles, Hamilton remains in fifth.
  • Sainz comes to a halt in a run-off.
  • …He radios the team, suggesting suspension trouble.
  • …Which is why Kvyat’s car was retired.
  • …So, there may be suspension issues on the Toro Rossos.
  • At Lap 35…
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, Räikkönen, Perez, and Hamilton lead.
  • …Bottas, Hülkenberg, Ricciardo, Massa, and Verstappen complete the top ten.
  • The radio exchanges between Hamilton and his engineers continues.
  • …With frustration from both sides.
  • …Hamilton, exasperated, has told them that he’s just going to start switching things until he figures it out.
  • …To which they have responded that they wouldn’t advise that.
  • …They’ve told him to keep his head down, focus, and drive.
  • …So, lots of fun there!
  • Kimi is shouting about being stuck behind a Sauber.
  • …”Where the fuck are the blue flags?!…”
  • …He does that.
  • Wehrlein has stopped on track.
  • …Oh, in the same spot as Sainz.
  • …He radios with brake issues.
  • …As in, he has none.
  • …At all.
  • …What a great, promising run from him, though.
  • …I think Manor will grab some points this season.
  • …I mean, don’t hold me to it, as a lot can happen in F1.
  • …And, this season’s competition is brutal, all though the grid.
  • …But, I’ve been saying it from the start of the season…
  • …Everyone has a shot this year.
  • …And, everyone keeps proving it.
  • After a lovely battle with Grosjean…
  • …Alonso has been ordered to pit.
  • …That his shifting issues are symptomatic of greater issues.
  • …And, they’re getting worse.
  • McLaren pulls Alonso’s car into the garage.
  • …So, that’s Kvyat, Sainz, Wehrlein, and Alonso out.
  • …None have been in anything remotely resembling a dramatic fashion.
  • Verstappen and Massa go wheel-to-wheel.
  • …Verstappen passes.
  • …Massa is (probably) thinking that the kid got the wrong Williams.
  • …And, that he’s too old for this punk-kid crap.
  • Kimi is shouting (again).
  • …He’s got mechanical concerns.
  • …And, what reminder did we get just a little earlier?
  • …Yep.
  • …So, just replace Hamilton’s voice with Kimi’s.
  • …And, add more straight-forward Nordic anger.
  • …(They’re not fond of an absence of sense.)
  • …And, enjoy.
  • SLAPS!!!
  • …5 laps remaining!
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, Räikkönen, Perez, and Hamilton lead.
  • …But, Kimi has that five-second time penalty.
  • …And, appears to be having mechanical issues.
  • …I just don’t see how Kimi can save this.
  • All the while…
  • …Mr Incredible has been passed by not one, but two Red Bulls.
  • …First, Ricciardo.
  • …Then, just now, Verstappen.
  • Perez passes Kimi.
  • …Easy-peazy.
  • …It was going to be his, anyway.
  • Checkered Flag…
  • Rosberg wins.
  • …He led through the entire race.
  • …After scoring Pole Position.
  • He’ll be joined on the podium by Vettel…
  • …And…
  • …After starting with a five-place grid penalty…
  • …Perez!!!
  • …His second of the season.
  • …The second of the season for The Little Team that Could.
  • Räikkönen and Hamilton complete the top five.
  • With Bottas, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hülkenberg, and Massa rounding out the top ten.
  • …So, points for those guys.
  • And, honorable mention going to Button, Nasr, Grosjean, Magnussen (who started from the pits), Palmer, Gutierrez, Ericsson, and Haryanto.
  • Your DNFs were Kvyat, Sainz, Wehrlein, and Alonso.
  • …All mechanicals.
  • …Kvyat and Alonso, pulling into their garages.
  • …And, Sainz and Wehrlein, coming to slow, controlled stops in the same run-off.
  • Well, that was drama-free.
  • …Bad-drama.
  • …There were some solid moves from start to finish.
  • …A lot of movement in the standings.
  • The podium boys seem to be enjoying themselves in the waiting room.
  • …Rosberg, who was so far ahead, asked Perez if it was strategy, or if he had some passing.
  • …He passed.
  • …They’re all laughing.
  • …Which is so nice to see.
  • …Backstage fighting, while amusing, is uncomfortable and sad.
  • …Oh, well, Rosberg has smacked himself in the eye while untangling his radio equipment.
  • …You don’t see that every day.
  • …Just one of the perks of these backstage moments.
  • …And, it should be noted that Rosberg is a little accident-prone.
  • …If he needs to get in his car, a cat will be on top of it, refusing to move.
  • …If he leaves a Valentine’s Day gift to the last minute, he will get caught in the rain.
  • …Without an umbrella or raincoat.
  • …If you’re not following him on social media, do so.
  • …It’s entertaining.
  • …Though, if you’re more into flash and celebs…
  • …Hamilton’s your man.
  • Vettel seems very happy with the circuit, the race, and Ferrari’s performance.
  • …Stating that it was a “clean” race.
  • …Despite having anticipated multiple Safety Cars.
  • …As we all did.
  • …Well, fine, maybe not you.
  • …But…
  • …Shut up.
  • Perez!!!
  • …Perez is stoked.
  • …As he should be.
  • …Look, the kid’s got it.
  • …He just needed to remind himself of his worth and potential…
  • …After that McLaren bitch slap…
  • …And settle into a car which shared that potential.
  • …Force India’s done a great job, with so very little to work with.
  • …And, it seems Perez has figured out how to unlock and maximize his and its potential.
  • And, onto Rosberg.
  • …Who is avoiding discussing the Championship.
  • …Which is just fine.
  • …Who wants to focus on that kind of pressure?
  • Yeah, everyone did a great job.
  • No one had any idea how to work this circuit.
  • …Even going into the race, after three practice sessions and Qualifying.
  • The only thing people knew, for sure, was that there was going to be crashing.
  • There wasn’t.
  • Everyone rocked it.
  • And, you know, for those whose performances felt less than stellar…
  • …It was the first time at this circuit.
  • …Everyone goes into these races with good intentions, doing their best under whatever conditions they’re dealing with.
  • …Whether it’s car issues or just a weird discomfort that day.
  • …All those uphill battles are magnified with the unknowns of a new track.
  • …So, for all but four cars to make it to the finish, with zero crashes…
  • …I would consider that a successful lesson, completed, and noted for future reference.
  • …Stay tuned for next year.
  • Rosberg has posted a backstage selfie, with Vettel and Perez, to Instagram and Twitter…
  • …If you’re interested.
  • …As I noted, they were (clearly) enjoying the company.
  • How about an update on current Championship Standings?
  • Drivers’…
  • …Rosberg – 141 / Hamilton – 117 / Vettel – 96 / Räikkönen – 81
  • …Ricciardo – 78 / Verstappen – 54 / Bottas – 52 / Perez – 39
  • …Massa – 38 / Kvyat – 22 / Grosjean – 22 / Hülkenberg – 20
  • …Alonso – 18 / Sainz – 18 / Magnussen – 6 / Button – 5
  • …Vandoorne – 1 / Gutierrez – 0 / Palmer – 0 / Ericsson – 0
  • …Nasr – 0 / Wehrlein – 0 / Haryanto – 0
  • Constructors’…
  • …Mercedes – 258 / Ferrari – 177 / Red Bull – 140 / Williams – 90
  • …Force India – 59 / Toro Rosso – 32 / McLaren – 24 / Haas – 22
  • …Renault – 6 / Sauber – 0 / Manor – 0
  • I’m hearing that  Vettel asked the first question at the post-race press conference.
  • …And, it was a general question for whoever can answer…
  • …Who won Le Mans?
  • …Then, he wanted to know what happened, and how.
  • …I guess his response was “Fuck.”
  • …Like, you know, everyone else.
  • …Including, I guess, the top three at the post-Le Mans press conference.
  • …Who (all, unanimously) feel that Toyota #2 should be there.
  • …What a bummer way to end such an exciting race.
  • …Which is was, and always is.
  • …However, I will go on record…
  • …And, this will surprise no one…
  • …That I missed Mr Incredible.
  • …Even with him at Baku.
  • …Le Mans is just such a special thing, you know.
  • …It happens once a year, it’s a 24-hour race.
  • …He won it last year, in his rookie start.
  • But, again, back to F1.
  • Which will return to Austria.
  • …Starting July 1st.
  • …Yes, after this Baku-Le Mans juggling act, you get a weekend off.
  • …However, the Austrian Grand Prix clashes with WRC Rally Poland and the British ePrix.
  • …So, have fun with all that.
  • …International racing fans should get a little more respect for their hard work.
  • …Like, this should be a big seller on CVs.
  • …We juggle various races, in various time zones, at various times of the day/night, and (literally) while taking in numbers and notes on TV, computers, phones, and tablets.
  • …Wouldn’t you want to employ someone who does that in their spare time?
  • …Just sayin’.
  • Anyway…
  • …That’s that for Baku.
  • …It was awesome.
  • …Seriously awesome.
  • …Maybe not the most exciting of races.
  • …But, one that, just by the nature of the circuit, was difficult to look away from.
  • …It could have gone hideously wrong…
  • …In many ways…
  • …And, many times over.
  • …But, the drivers figured it out.
  • …And, ultimately, rocked it.
  • …Now that this hurdle into the unknown has been passed…
  • …Excitement will come.
  • …But, for now…
  • …See you at Austria!
  • …(Have a sexy day!!!)

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE – BAKU (17.6.2016 – 19.6.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// P2…

  • Good morning!
  • Bakuuuuuuu!!!
  • I spent quality time, learning the capitals and characteristics of these former Soviet states in college.
  • And, I’ll be honest, I never, in a million years, thought I’d have a use for that information.
  • But, here I am.
  • Because…
  • …It’s the European Grand Prix!
  • …Seen in the US on NBCSN.
  • If you’re a little confused…
  • …Don’t worry.
  • …This is an old race.
  • …On a new circuit.
  • …You may remember it from a few years back.
  • …When it was in Valencia, Spain.
  • …But, it had been rediscovered and reinvented.
  • …Welcome to Baku.
  • Shall we have a peek at some Fun Friday Facts?
  • The 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe.
  • …Tagline: “The Speed is Higher in the Land of Fire”.
  • …Baku City Circuit.
  • …Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • …An ancient city on the eastern coast of the Caspian sea.
  • …Which I had a weird fascination with as a kid.
  • …I had a weird thing about inland seas and saltwater lakes.
  • …Anyway.
  • …With a population of (around) two million…
  • …And, lying over 90 feet below sea level…
  • …It is (both) the lowest-lying capital and major city in the world.
  • …Cool, huh?
  • …Okay, okay, okay…
  • …The circuit…
  • …It is long.
  • …Very long.
  • …6.003km (3.730mi) long.
  • …With 20 turns.
  • …Giving it a shape like a spilled bottle of La Roche-Posay sunscreen.
  • …All run counterclockwise.
  • …With some steep, narrow turns.
  • …Glorified alleyways, really.
  • …Drivers will have to watch out for douchebag Stanford swimmers will passing through those.
  • …With the longest, fastest straight on the 2016 calendar.
  • …Where cars will exceed 210mph.
  • …Earlier today, Williams’ Bottas clocked in at 218mph.
  • …(If you’re keeping track, yes, this is two P1 sessions in a row that Bottas has set these blistering speeds, following his 211mph at Canada.  He’s Finnish.  They fly.)
  • …Yes, all of this.
  • …And then some.
  • …On race day, there will be 51 laps.
  • …Which will bring the goal total distance to 306.049km (190.170mi).
  • …But…
  • …Cars will have to survive the turns and the slick surface of a new track to get there.
  • …Remember, new surfaces not only need some breaking in, they ooze oils
  • With this being the first tour of the Baku City Circuit…
  • …How about some firsts?
  • …The first driver on track (in P1) was Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez.
  • …The first driver to set a time was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
  • …The first driver to have to use a run-off was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
  • …The first driver to spin was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
  • …And, the first driver to bring out a Red Flag was Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
  • And, if you’re wondering how the first Practice session went…
  • …It went like this…
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton, Mercedes Rosberg, Williams’ Bottas, McLaren’s Alonso…
  • …Remember that Alonso has been an ambassador for this circuit, so he knows the layout and has watched the progress quite closely.
  • …Ferrari’s Vettel, Force India’s Perez, McLaren’s Button, Williams’ Massa…
  • …Toro Rosso’s Sainz, Force India’s Hülkenberg, Haas’ Grosjean, Ferrari’s Räikkönen…
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo, Haas’ Gutierrez, Sauber’s Ericsson, Red Bull’s Verstappen…
  • …Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, Renault’s Palmer, Renault’s Magnussen, Manor’s Wehrlein…
  • …Sauber’s Nasr, and Manor’s Haryanto.
  • Okay, for fun, would you like a look back at the last European Grand Prix?
  • …To see how much has changed?
  • …For a little reminiscing?
  • …Let’s do it.
  • …Enjoy!
  • …Ferrari’s Alonso, Lotus’ Räikkönen, Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher, Red Bull’s Mark Webber…
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg, Mercedes’ Rosberg, Force India’s Paul DiResta, McLaren’s Button…
  • …Sauber’s Perez, Williams’ Bruno Senna, Toro Rosso’s Ricciardo, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado…
  • …Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov, Marussia’s Charles Pic, Ferrari’s Massa, HRT’s Pedro de la Rosa…
  • …And, HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan.
  • …The DNFs were McLaren’s Hamilton, Lotus’ Grosjean, Red Bull’s Vettel, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Éric Vergne.
  • …And, in one of my favorite F1 stories ever, which I have yet to let go of…
  • …Marussia’s Timo Glock was a DNS…
  • …Which has been filed under ‘illness’.
  • …He had diarrhea.
  • …And, I’ve been referencing that ever since.
  • …June 2012 was a turning point in my F1 life.
  • …I’d just started running commentary.
  • …And, I’d been given a gift.
  • …Which I cherish to this day.
  • …(Cha-cha-cha!)
  • Thus far…
  • …In P2…
  • …There have been a lot of offs.
  • …But, no crashes.
  • …However…
  • …Some curbing has come unscrewed.
  • …And, has required on-the-spot repairs.
  • …Also, some very grey clouds have been leaking a bit.
  • …Because, the track needed to be more interesting.
  • With a little less than half an hour to go…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Perez, and Bottas lead the session.
  • …Followed by Hülkenberg, Sainz, Verstappen, Vettel, Button, and Ricciardo.
  • …Alonso, Grosjean, Räikkönen, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Massa, Magnussen, Haryanto, Palmer, Wehrlein, Nasr, and Ericsson fall outside the top ten.
  • Virtual Safety Car…
  • …As Rosberg comes to a drama-free halt on track.
  • The marshals scootch the Mercedes off the circuit.
  • Green light, go.
  • Some shrubbery on track.
  • …Better call Roger the Shrubber.
  • As usual, there (really) isn’t much to report through P2.
  • …Practice sessions are exactly what they sound like.
  • …They’re for drivers and teams to get a feel for the circuit.
  • …So they can develop the appropriate strategies and setups for Qualifying and the race.
  • …You’re seeing a lot of offs, simply because drivers are trying to get a feel for the limits.
  • …So, they push them.
  • …They’ll be more precise, and the speeds will be higher, come Qualifying.
  • Some serious showmanship from Sainz.
  • …That was a beautifully big spin.
  • …The kind you see tossed in post-race celebrations.
  • …To give the fans a thrill.
  • Gutierrez and Nasr are running very closely.
  • …Tossing their cars over the curbs with a bit of violence.
  • …With Gutierrez, just brushing the wall.
  • …As they approach the (now famous) landmark castle.
  • Gutierrez has a little off.
  • …But, carries on.
  • Kimi has pulled into a runoff.
  • …He gets out of the car.
  • …Signalling the end of his session.
  • …Those Ferraris just aren’t working at this track.
  • …But, as I said, these are practice sessions.
  • …Who knows what they’ve uncovered and will be able to improve upon.
  • One minute remains.
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Perez, Bottas, and Hülkenberg remain in the lead.
  • Vettel makes his way back to the pits.
  • …Very slowly.
  • …I suppose, with (only) a minute left…
  • …And the other car, retired on track…
  • …Better safe, than costly.
  • …Oh, and there’s the radio call.
  • …They were seeing the same motor issue in Vettel’s car as Kimi’s.
  • …So, it was baby-it back asap.
  • End of session…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Perez, Bottas, and Hülkenberg top the time sheets.
  • …With Sainz, Verstappen, Vettel, Button, and Ricciardo rounding out the top ten.
  • …And, Alonso, Grosjean, Räikkönen, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Massa, Magnussen, Haryanto, Ericsson, Palmer, Wehrlein, and Nasr completing the recce.
  • Shot of Rosberg, taking pictures with marshals.
  • …The drivers really do seem to be loving this adventure.
  • …Leading up to it, and even considering the curiosity surrounding a new circuit…
  • …I’m not sure I’ve seen so many photos, by so many people, of a track.
  • …The track is interesting and the city is emitting good vibes.
  • …I’m into it.
  • …All of it.
  • …Fingers crossed for a great weekend.
  • Okay…
  • …Well…
  • …That’s that for P2.
  • …NBCSN will carry Qualifying…
  • …Tomorrow, 8am (CT).
  • …I, however, will not be able to cover it.
  • …Not live, at least.
  • …And, realistically, with this (also) being Le Mans weekend…
  • …I (probably) won’t be able to cover a rebroadcast (which I have yet to even check the listings for).
  • …But, I -will- be back for Grand Prix coverage.
  • …Which will start at 7am (CT), Sunday.
  • …Oh, it’s going to be another wild weekend of racing!
  • …And, I just don’t have a problem with that.
  • See you Sunday!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF CANADA (10.6.2016 – 12.6.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Hi.
  • So…
  • …If you are in the US, you may have noticed that the Canadian Grand Prix is not on NBC.
  • …As it usually is.
  • …Due to unforeseen atrocities, today’s action has moved (back) to NBCSN.
  • …And, for those following IndyCar, that action has moved to CNBC.
  • …Just another dark day in America, folks.
  • …So glad F1 could join North America for it.
  • Shall we move on?
  • …Before I get rage-y and sad?
  • Yes.
  • Oh, hey, it’s time for the Canadian Grand Prix!
  • …One of the fantastic things in the world today!
  • …Yay!
  • So…
  • …Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada.
  • …Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
  • …Île Notre-Dame, Montréal, Québec.
  • …A 4.361km (2.710mi) street circuit.
  • …With 14 turns.
  • …Giving it a narwal-y shape.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …With 70 laps scheduled for today.
  • …Putting the goal total distance at 305.270km (189.686mi).
  • …And, as usual, I say ‘goal’, because…
  • …This is F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most of it will happen.
  • Today’s starting grid looks something like this…
  • …With each driver’s 2015 results in parentheses…
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (1) / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (2)
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (5) / Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (13)
  • …Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (15, Toro Rosso) / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (4)
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (3) / Williams’ Felipe Massa (6)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (8) / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (DNF)
  • …Force India’s Sergio Perez (11) / McLaren’s Jenson Button (DNF)
  • …Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez (N/A) / Haas’ Romain Grosjean (10, Lotus)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (9, Red Bull) / Renault’s Jolyon Palmer (N/A)
  • …Kvyat qualified 13th, but drops three places with a carryover penalty (causing a collision at Monaco).
  • …Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein (N/A) / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr (16)
  • …Manor’s Rio Haryanto (N/A) / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. (12)
  • …Sainz qualified 16th, but will serve a five-place penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change (after crashing into, and along, the Wall of Champions in Q2).
  • …Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (14) / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen (N/A)
  • …Ericsson qualified 19th, but serves a three-place carryover penalty (causing a collision at Monaco)
  • …Magnussen failed to take part in Qualifying, after damaging his car beyond quick-repair in P3, and will serve a five-place grid penalty for a related unscheduled gearbox change.
  • I think I got that grid correct.
  • …Anyway, it’s something like that.
  • …You’ll see it soon enough.
  • Weather-wise…
  • …It is a chilly 54F.
  • …With heavy clouds overhead.
  • Wait…
  • …Have I reviewed everything?
  • …That’s a first.
  • …I refuse to believe this.
  • …What did I forget?
  • I guess I could point out that Verstappen and Räikkönen are starting next to one another.
  • …The youngest and oldest drivers.
  • …Kimi is -literally, mathematically- twice Hashtag Teen’s age.
  • Shall we?
  • Grab your poutine…
  • Here we go!!!
  • Vettel flies ahead of the Mercs!
  • The Mercs made contact in the frenzy!
  • ..Rosberg is trailing.
  • The Red Bulls pull up to the front.
  • …Right with Vettel and Hamilton.
  • Rosberg has dropped to 10th.
  • …He’s in a McLaren sandwich.
  • …He (finally) gets around Alonso.
  • Magnussen hits Nasr.
  • …Nasr spins.
  • …Magnussen keeps going.
  • …And, Ericsson just waltzes on through the chaos.
  • Just a reminder…
  • …This is an incredibly fast circuit.
  • …During P1, Bottas clocked in at 210mph.
  • …You read that 100% correctly.
  • …210mph.
  • …And, the underlying goal is to get as close to the walls as possible.
  • …Without (actually) touching them.
  • …Which, often, goes horribly wrong.
  • …Hence, the Wall of Champions.
  • …It’s just a wonderful, understated, unassuming track.
  • …Mixing street circuit challenges with a high-speed track.
  • …In a sweet, tree-lined, old school package.
  • Button’s car is on fire.
  • …He’s pulled over, he’s out.
  • …And, the fire has been contained.
  • Virtual Safety Car is in effect.
  • Lots of pitting for tires.
  • Hey, look…
  • …Ferrari just did back-to-back tire changes.
  • …With tires and everything.
  • …Just saying.
  • …That little Red Bull/Ricciardo/pit stop incident (at Monaco) will not be forgotten.
  • …And, shouldn’t.
  • …You know what they say about those who forget the past.
  • Verstappen has been instructed to let Ricciardo pass.
  • …Should the situation arise.
  • …Verstappen has a history of (blatantly, if not defiantly) ignoring these calls.
  • …But, in (only) his third race with Red Bull.
  • …And, being the (very-much) junior driver…
  • …I’m thinking he better play along.
  • Back to Ferrari…
  • …I don’t spend a lot of time on tire information.
  • …But, it should be noted that both cars have switched from ultrasofts to supersofts.
  • …So, quick start, looking ahead to limiting stops.
  • …It didn’t take a genius to see what they did there, did it?
  • …However…
  • …Vettel is having some issues, getting (back) to the front.
  • …Every tire choice is a trade off and a gamble.
  • Vettel has (finally) passed both Red Bulls.
  • …Now, it’s onto Obstacle 1…
  • …Hamilton.
  • Palmer’s car has been pulled into the Renault garage.
  • …Renault’s resident tweeter has reported that it is a water leak.
  • More pitting…
  • …Ricciardo…
  • …Go got tires, which is cool.
  • …Rosberg.
  • …Hülkenberg.
  • …Bergberg.
  • Hamilton pits.
  • …He comes out behind Vettel.
  • At Lap 27…
  • …Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Räikkönen, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Bottas, Rosberg, Perez, Massa, and Hülkenberg complete the top 10.
  • Okay…
  • …So…
  • …Whose strategy will pay off?
  • …Mercedes has put softs on Hamilton’s car.
  • …Remember that Vettel went to supersofts.
  • …They have to use both.
  • …So, who did it in the right order?
  • Ferrari has instructed Kimi to “take it easy”.
  • …Kimi has, in his shouty mumbling, responded with questions as to how that’s possible, when he’s trying to keep Ricciardo and Bottas off him.
  • And, now, Vettel is shouting about getting guys out of the way.
  • …This is Ferrari.
  • …These guys are friends.
  • Rosberg has woken up and hauled his ass to the Bottas/Ricciardo/Räikkönen party.
  • Kimi pits.
  • …Onto softs he goes.
  • At Lap 36…
  • …With half a race to go…
  • …It’s Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Bottas in the lead.
  • …With Rosberg, Massa, Kimi, Hülkenberg, and Sainz in the top 10.
  • Massa pits.
  • Vettel pits.
  • …Onto softs.
  • …And, comes out behind Hamilton.
  • …So, here we go loopty-loo.
  • Williams has retired Massa’s car.
  • …So he can go hang with Michael Douglas.
  • …This retirement is significant…
  • …As Massa was the only driver to score points in every race this season (thus far).
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • …Oh, good lord.
  • …Trouble with the tire change.
  • …Remember when Red Bull got their changes down to nothing?
  • …What the hell has happened?
  • …Are they the new Williams?
  • …Now that Williams has turned it around.
  • Magnussen pits.
  • …For the first time.
  • …That’s impressive.
  • At Lap 44…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Bottas, and Rosberg lead.
  • …Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Hülkenberg, Sainz, and Perez round out the top 10.
  • Rosberg is requesting more information on all the warning lights flashing on his steering game console.
  • …They’ve responded, simply, “The warnings are real”.
  • …Well…
  • …That doesn’t sound good.
  • What a lovely 2.8-second stop for Verstappen.
  • …He moves to ultrasofts.
  • Grosjean, fighting to control his car, asks his team if he (still) has a front wing.
  • …He does.
  • …So, who knows what glitch Haas has run into.
  • At Lap 50…
  • …Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Rosberg, and Verstappen lead.
  • …Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Hülkenberg, Sainz, and Alonso complete the top 10.
  • BBC’s Jennie Gow is reporting (via Twitter) confirmation from Williams that Massa’s power unit was overheating beyond management.
  • …As that retirement had been a bit of a mystery.
  • …There you go.
  • Rosberg pits for puncture replacement.
  • …They put him on softs.
  • …No one has any real guess as to which strategy is the right one, do they?
  • Rosberg passes Räikkönen.
  • …Rosberg, with real warning lights.
  • …Kimi, who is supposed to be taking it easy.
  • …So, it’s the newer tires that won that one.
  • Question…
  • …Has Massa’s son been running Ricciardo’s pit stops?
  • …I was just wondering.
  • …You know, their history of bullying and all.
  • Rosberg and Verstappen are going wheel-to-wheel.
  • …Back and forth.
  • Alonso has radioed his team, asking if he should stop.
  • …Hmmm…
  • As Verstappen continues to make Rosberg’s life miserable.
  • …Shot of (Red Bull Team Principal) Christian Horner, smiling at the pit wall.
  • Some Kimi radio magic…
  • …”What the fuck is this Manor doing?”
  • …Kimi is a master of lapping commentary.
  • …And, commentary in general.
  • Final lap.
  • …And, not one woodchuck seen on track all day.
  • Rosberg spins!!!
  • …On the final lap!!!
  • …Oh, don’t bother with any “mess with the Bull” comments.
  • That’s it!
  • Hamilton, Vettel, and Bottas head to the podium.
  • Verstappen and Rosberg complete the top five.
  • Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Hülkenberg, Sainz, and Perez round out the top 10.
  • …Yes, Sainz, ninth.
  • …From 20th.
  • Alonso, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Ericsson, Magnussen, Wehrlein, Nasr, and Haryanto avoid the walls and complete the race.
  • Earlier retirees Button, Palmer, and Massa remain the only DNFs of the day.
  • Bottas forgets the weigh-in.
  • …And, has to be redirected.
  • …It’s been a while since he’s been on a podium.
  • Vettel and Hamilton seem to be enjoying themselves.
  • …Vettel tells Hamilton that he got the lead, because he saw seagulls…
  • …And, always stops for animals.
  • Ahead of the podium, the drivers were reminded that they are on live TV.
  • …So, watch the language.
  • …I am going to assume that this was a general preemptive strike.
  • …Not directed toward any one driver (specifically).
  • …(Vettel.)
  • …It was (probably) a memo to Michael Douglas.
  • …Watch your fucking mouth, Douglas.
  • Do you think that the podium winners (also) score piggyback rides from Tom Brady.
  • …He’s there.
  • …I don’t see why this wouldn’t be a thing.
  • When asked by NBC Sport’s Will Buxton if he’s glad this one is over, Alonso responded…
  • …”Glad many are over.”
  • …Oh, don’t read too deeply into it.
  • …We’re (all) very well aware that the McHonda partnership is taking a while to settle in.
  • …It’s just a part of the process, any new partnership, especially in F1.
  • …I’ve never understood what all the drama around it was about.
  • …Honda took a long leave.
  • …They were building from scratch.
  • …It was going to take time.
  • …Time they didn’t have.
  • …By that, I mean that new teams can defer their F1 entry.
  • …Haas took their time.
  • …Hence, a speedier appearance to their debut.
  • …McLaren was in it.
  • …Their development was going to be public.
  • …With this, there are going to be ups and downs, anger and elation.
  • …Stuff like this (learning things, building things, etc) is frustrating.
  • …And, I mean, everyone, at every level, has bad days.
  • …Rosberg had a crap day.
  • …Kimi had a rough day.
  • …Red Bull can’t figure out Ricciardo’s pit stops.
  • …They’re fine.
  • …Knock it off.
  • Hey…
  • …How about some Championship standings?
  • Drivers’…
  • …Rosberg – 116 / Hamilton – 107 / Vettel – 78 / Ricciardo – 72
  • …Räikkönen – 69 / Verstappen – 50 / Bottas – 44 / Massa – 37
  • …Perez – 24 / Kvyat – 22 / Grosjean – 22 / Alonso – 18
  • …Hülkenberg – 18 / Sainz – 18 / Magnussen – 6 / Button – 5
  • …Vandoorne – 1 / Gutierrez – 0 / Palmer – 0 / Ericsson – 0
  • …Wehrlein – 0 / Nasr – 0 / Haryanto – 0
  • Constructors’…
  • …Mercedes – 223 / Ferrari – 147 / Red Bull – 130 / Williams – 81
  • …Force India – 42 / Toro Rosso – 32 / McLaren – 24 / Haas – 22
  • …Renault – 6 / Sauber – 0 / Manor – 0
  • Okay, well…
  • …That’s it for Canada.
  • Next up…
  • …The European Grand Prix.
  • …At the brand, spankin’ new Baku City Circuit.
  • …In Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • …An adventure into a 6.001km (3.729mi), 20-corner, 51-lap unknown.
  • …Aaannnddd…
  • …It’s all happening next weekend.
  • …How’s that for a quick long-haul?
  • …(Yes, Le Mans weekend.  No, I don’t know what I’m going to do, either.)
  • Well…
  • …That’s it for me.
  • …Be nice to one another, goddammit.
  • …Seriously, it’s not that difficult to not kill, rape, bully, or otherwise destroy another human being.
  • …Just, you know, don’t.
  • …Like any other shitty thing.
  • …You don’t have to spread love.
  • …I mean, seriously, don’t touch me, much less try to hug me.
  • …Just, don’t unleash hate.
  • …Focus on common ground.
  • …See how fascinating differences are.
  • …Be cool, like little Fonzies.
  • …Don’t be a fucking asshole.
  • …See you next weekend.

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF CANADA (10.6.2016 – 12.6.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Bonjour!
  • Welcome (back) to North America.
  • Now…
  • …Why on earth would anyone want to make such a long trip?
  • …Well…
  • …Wide, open spaces.
  • …Massive portions of food.
  • …Some people might be into all the animals and elements that could kill a person.
  • …But, this weekend…
  • …It’s all about the Canadian Grand Prix!
  • …So, pick up that poutine, kids.
  • …We’re heading to Quebec!
  • Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada…
  • …Montréal, Québec.
  • …Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
  • …4.261km (2.710mi) in length.
  • …14 turns.
  • …Giving the Île Notre-Dame street circuit a narwal-y shape.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …On race day, there are 70 laps scheduled.
  • …Which will bring the total distance goal to305.270km (189.686mi).
  • …Should the driver survive the 200+mph challenge.
  • …And, the Wall of Champions.
  • In 2015, it was Mercedes’ Hamilton on top.
  • …Joined by (teammate) Rosberg and Williams’ Bottas on the podium.
  • Let’s see how this survival of the fittest shakes out this weekend.
  • Starting with…
  • …Qualifying.
  • …Three elimination sessions.
  • …All of which will form the starting grid for tomorrow’s race.
  • …Which, if you’re in the US, will shift over from NBCSN to NBC.
  • …As has been standard for quite a while, now.
  • …Because, it’s Montréal.
  • …The reason why so many of us (in border states) were directed to take French through school.
  • So, into Q1 we roll.
  • Renault’s Magnussen will not be taking part in Qualifying.
  • …As a Free Practice 3 crash left his car beyond quick-repair.
  • …So, he will either be starting from the back…
  • …Or, more likely, from pitlane.
  • With six minutes remaining…
  • …Rosberg, Ferrari’s Vettel, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, and Hamilton lead.
  • …With Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, Sauber’s Ericsson, Renault’s Palmer, Sauber’s Nasr, and Manor’s Haryanto in the drop zone.
  • Kvyat moves up to 12th.
  • Manor’s Wehrlein drops to 18th.
  • All eyes are on Haas’ Grosjean…
  • …Who hovers just above water, in 16th.
  • Haryanto is circling the track, attempting to return to the pits.
  • …With his rear-right tire wobbling quite violently.
  • …Following a crash, bounce, and spin.
  • …He didn’t make it.
  • …The rookie tried his best, but ended his session early.
  • …Parked up on the grass.
  • Q1, over…
  • …Mercedes’ Rosberg, Ferrari’s Vettel, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, Mercedes’ Hamilton, and Williams’ Bottas lead the session.
  • …With Ferrari’s Räikkönen, Red Bull’s Verstappen, Force India’s Hülkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Sainz, and McLaren’s Button rounding out the top ten.
  • …And, Force India’s Perez, Williams’ Massa, Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, McLaren’s Alonso, and the Haas duo of Gutierrez and Grosjean, holding on for another round.
  • …Out were Renault’s Palmer, Manor’s Wehrlein, Sauber’s Ericsson and Nasr, and, of course, Manor’s Haryanto.
  • …With Renault’s Magnussen not taking part.
  • Onto Q2 we go…
  • …16 cars head out.
  • …Welcomed by threatening skies.
  • …Will it, or won’t it?…
  • …That is the question.
  • Sainz has crashed…
  • …And, was just carried away by the wall…
  • …Just clipping the wall…
  • …Then, scooting his way out of Qualifying.
  • …If you’re wondering what the challenge of Canada is…
  • …That’s it.
  • …It’s super-fast…
  • …And, known for its car-wall brushes.
  • …Wall cameras are huge at this track.
  • …And, they move a lot.
  • …Basically, the challenge is getting as close to the walls as possible.
  • …At high speed (Bottas was clocked at 210mph in FP1).
  • …Without trashing your car.
  • …Sainz got it just a little wrong.
  • …And, sadly, that’s all it takes.
  • …But, he’s good, they’ll repair the car, and we’ll just see what he can do.
  • …It’s F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • The Sainz crash has prompted a Red Flag.
  • …So, all action ceases.
  • …As the circuit crew hoists the shattered remains of the Toro Rosso…
  • …/Sainz’s Qualifying hopes and dreams…
  • …Off the track.
  • Green Flag, go!
  • 11-ish minutes remain.
  • …Only five cars have set lap times (thus far).
  • With 7-ish minutes remaining…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Räikkönen, and Massa lead.
  • …With Grosjean, Gutierrez, Hülkenberg, and Perez in the drop zone.
  • …(And, of course, Sainz, locked into 16th-place.)
  • …But, it continues to change.
  • …As all squads launch their push for Q3.
  • Gutierrez and Hülkenberg engage in a little close dancing around the hairpin.
  • …And, live to tell.
  • …Yay.
  • One minute remains (for Q2).
  • Checkered flag…
  • …Flying laps…
  • …Alonso flies around the final corner…
  • …Launching himself out of the drop zone…
  • …And, into ninth.
  • …The Incredible Hülkenberg makes one, last, desperate push…
  • …And, it pays off.
  • Q2…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Bottas, Verstappen, Räikkönen, Vettel, Massa, Hülkenberg, and Alonso move onto Q3.
  • …Perez, Button, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Grosjean, and (of course) Sainz…
  • …In the voice of ‘Kill Bill, Vol. 1’s The Bride…
  • …Stay right where they are.
  • Q3…
  • …The final push for a prime spot within the front five rows of the grid.
  • ….The race for Pole Position.
  • …Here we go.
  • If you’re thinking the action looks a little more green than usual…
  • …Do not adjust your television set.
  • …No, it is not “The Outer Limits”.
  • …It’s a brand, spankin’ new partnership between F1 and Heineken.
  • …In case anyone missed the memo, and was wondering.
  • Radio from Vettel…
  • …”I think I brushed a little bit with the Wall of Champions…”
  • …He did.
  • …But, got away with it.
  • …As I was saying…
  • …It’s a balancing act, like building a house of cards.
  • …If any of those charms your bracelet kiss a crd just a little too card, Marcia Brady, it’s game over.
  • Massa brushes the wall.
  • …But, saves it and lives to tell.
  • …See how exciting Canada can be?
  • …And, just think, there hasn’t been any wildlife on track…
  • …Yet.
  • The final minute…
  • …Who will it be?
  • …And, will all ten finish?
  • Time is up…
  • …Hamilton gets his fourth Pole of the season.
  • …Rosberg wrangled his misbehaving Mercedes into second.
  • …With Vettel, Ricciardo, and 18-year-old Verstappen rounding out the top five.
  • …And, Räikkönen, Bottas, Massa, Hülkenberg, and Alonso completing the top 10.
  • So, as of now, your starting grid will look like this (with 2015 results in parentheses)…
  • …(Everything, and its mother, subject to change.)
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (1) / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (2)
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (5) / Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (13)
  • …Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (15) / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (4)
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (3) / Williams’ Felipe Massa (6)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (8) / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (DNF)
  • …Force India’s Sergio Perez (11) / McLaren’s Jenson Button (DNF)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (9) / Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez (N/A)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean (10) / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. (12)
  • …Renault’s Jolyon Palmer (N/A) / Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (14) / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr (16)
  • …Manor’s Rio Haryanto (N/A) / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen (N/A)
  • Well…
  • …That’s that for Qualifying.
  • …All drivers appear to be qualified to operate a motor vehicle.
  • …All cars…
  • …Eh…
  • …We’ll see.
  • …How about tomorrow?
  • …Say, around…
  • …Noon?
  • …(CT)
  • …NBC?
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool
  • Watch the Wall.
  • (Have a nice day!)

MOTORSPORT // F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF MONACO (26.5.2016 – 29.5.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • 19 turns.
  • Clockwise.
  • Shaped like a singing sea serpent.
  • 3.337km (2.074mi) in length.
  • 78 laps.
  • 260.286 total kilometers (161.734 miles).
  • City streets.
  • Narrow roads.
  • Uneven pavement.
  • Manhole covers.
  • A tunnel.
  • One very tight hairpin turn.
  • What am I describing?
  • Well, reach for a peach, Pink Floyd.
  • Because, it’s time for F1 to take the scenically high roads…
  • …To the 2.02-square-kilometer (0.78-square-mile) principality…
  • …Of Monaco.
  • If you’re in the US…
  • …You are watching the race on NBC.
  • …(With post-race coverage swinging back to NBCSN.)
  • …As it’s been forever and a day.
  • …Because, this race is just that much of a classic.
  • …It’s like the Kentucky Derby.
  • …You can know nothing about the sport…
  • …But, still, know and love the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • After a rainy day in the Mediterranean port town…
  • …With more on the way…
  • …Word has just come down that the race -will- start behind the Safety Car.
  • …So, basically, just another round of the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • Okay, I’ll toss the starting grid out there, before I forget…
  • …With last year’s result next to the names (in parentheses).
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo (5) / Mercedes’ Rosberg (1)
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton (3) / Ferrari’s Vettel (2)
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg (11) / Toro Rosso’s Sainz (10)
  • …Force India’s Perez (7) / Toro Rosso’s Kvyat (4, with Red Bull)
  • …McLaren’s Alonso (DNF) / Williams’ Bottas (14)
  • …Ferrari’s Räikkönen (6)  / Haas’ Gutiérrez (N/A)
  • …McLaren’s Button (8) / Williams’ Massa (15)
  • …Haas’ Grosjean (12, with Lotus) / Renault’s Magnussen (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson (13) / Renault’s Palmer (N/A)
  • …Manor’s Haryanto (N/A) / Manor’s Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Nasr (9)
  • …Red Bull’s Verstappen (DNF, with Toro Rosso) will start from pitlane (after crashing out of Q1)
  • …Note: Räikkönen qualified sixth, but was slapped with a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
  • The race has been going.
  • We are in Lap 6.
  • But, still, under the Safety Car.
  • Which means that the grid has been in a static conga line.
  • …So, your leader board is the starting grid.
  • Okay…
  • …Green light…
  • …Go!!!
  • Magnussen pits for Intermediate tires!
  • …Now, THAT’S gambling in Monaco!
  • Palmer crashes!
  • …Right as his teammate swaps out tires.
  • …He’s out and fine.
  • …But, that is one totaled car.
  • …As can happen on a wet street circuit, he hit the super-slick lines on the road, slammed into the wall, bounced, skidded along the wall, and came to a halt on one of the few runoffs.
  • …Scattering pieces of yellow Renault in his wake.
  • Needless to say…
  • …We are right (back) under a yellow flag.
  • …The question (at Monaco) is not if there will be a Safety Car…
  • …It’s “how many?”.
  • Green flag, go!
  • Former Lotus teammates Grosjean and Räikkönen are off.
  • …Grosjean gets going (again).
  • …But, Kimi’s front wing is trapped under his left-front wheel.
  • …He’s trying to go.
  • …With the hope of a dislodge (I would assume).
  • No luck for Kimi.
  • …That wing is trapped.
  • …He’s pulled into one of the few runoffs.
  • …Game over.
  • Alonso…
  • …Dings himself, it appears.
  • …Nothing major.
  • …Just…
  • …Monaco.
  • If you’re new to F1…
  • …Welcome to the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • …This is pretty normal.
  • With one car out…
  • …Ferrari has called Vettel in for Intermediates.
  • I’m (usually) not big on calling tires.
  • …But, in wet weather, it -is- interesting.
  • …This round, the options are (the new) Ultrasofts, Supersofts, Softs, Intermediates, and Wets.
  • …Thus far, today, we’ve seen Wets and Intermediates.
  • …So, the world may have to wait a little longer for a verdict on those Ultrasofts.
  • Lots of pitting for tires.
  • Where is everyone?
  • …It’s just Hamilton.
  • …With Ricciardo, ahead, having just set the fastest lap.
  • Vettel tries to pass Massa.
  • …But, slides through the chicanes.
  • …And, has to give the position back.
  • Back to Hamilton…
  • …Just before he became a lonely boy…
  • …He passed a very slow-looking Rosberg.
  • …NBCSN has gotten confirmation (from Mercedes) that the winner of the last three Monaco Grands Prix (and current Championship leader) was instructed to let Hamilton pass.
  • At Lap 20…
  • …Ricciardo, Hamilton, Rosberg, and Perez lead.
  • …And, with all that action, all those dings, only Palmer and Räikkönen have retired.
  • …Also, if you’re wondering what happened to Verstappen…
  • …Winner of last round’s Spanish Grand Prix.
  • …Youngest (ever) winner of an F1 grand prix.
  • …Who started from pitlane.
  • …He’s in 14th.
  • Magnussen and Kvyat went wheel-to-wheel…
  • …Right into a wall.
  • …Magnussen had the edge…
  • …But, Kvyat refused to stop believin’.
  • …Magnussen was able to get going (again).
  • …But, Kvyat is struggling just to move the car from it’s road-blocking position.
  • Yellow flag.
  • Kvyat is under investigation for causing an accident.
  • …Because, well, he did.
  • …What has gotten into Kvyat?
  • …Ack.
  • …No bueno.
  • In the midst of all that mess…
  • …Just before the Yellow…
  • …Verstappen set fastest lap.
  • Kvyat has retired.
  • …For the day.
  • …That was too easy, under these circumstances, wasn’t it?
  • Mercedes has confirmed that Rosberg has brake temperature issues.
  • …Hence, having to back off a bit.
  • …If he wants to make it to the end.
  • At Lap 27…
  • …It’s Hamilton, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Perez, and Vettel in the lead.
  • …With Hülkenberg, Sainz, Alonso, Gutierrez, and Verstappen rounding out the top ten.
  • The weather has cleared.
  • …The sun is peeking out.
  • …But…
  • …The streets remain quite moist.
  • …(Yes, I just needed to say ‘moist’.  For no one’s pleasure.)
  • Okay…
  • …Here’s the thing about circuit surfaces…
  • …They’re roads.
  • …Just like the ones we mortals drive on every day.
  • …So, all those things that happen when we drive in wet conditions…
  • …Circuits are no different.
  • …Especially, street circuits.
  • …For obvious reasons.
  • …All that oil surfaces, the lines get slippery, everything.
  • …So, keep that in mind.
  • …It (always) shocks me that people don’t understand that all basic principles of car and road apply to race cars.
  • Ericsson switches to Ultrasofts!!!
  • …The first to go for it!!!
  • Perez goes to Softs!
  • No one knows where to go!
  • …Every team is pitting, and every team has different tires ready.
  • Ricciardo pits…
  • …Oh, my god!
  • …Red Bull’s not ready!!!
  • …They don’t have tires ready!!!
  • …Red Bull has just flubbed their lead car’s stop!
  • …They find some tires.
  • …Slap them on.
  • …Off he goes.
  • …Reentering right behind Hamilton.
  • …Oh, man, did Red Bull luck out with that one!
  • Magnussen has another meeting with the barriers.
  • …But, off he goes.
  • …He’s today’s Pinball Wizard.
  • At Lap 35…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez, Vettel, and Alonso lead.
  • …As Rosberg, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Button, and Gutierrez complete the top ten.
  • Verstappen has crashed.
  • …Again.
  • …After crashing out of Q1.
  • …And, after crashing out last year.
  • Yellow flag.
  • Magnussen has retired.
  • …Finally.
  • …Oh, I mean that in the way that he’s just had quite the day.
  • …I was pulling for him.
  • …But, maybe, it was just time to call it a frigging day.
  • Hamilton and Ricciardo are going wheel-to-wheel.
  • …In Monaco.
  • …Through the tunnel!
  • …Out of the tunnel!
  • …Oh, this could end badly.
  • …It’s looking so much like what led to last round’s Rosberg/Hamilton crash.
  • …There’s just nowhere to go.
  • At Lap 40…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez, Vettel, and Alonso lead.
  • …As Rosberg, Mr Incredible, Sainz, Button, and Gutierrez round out the top ten.
  • …With Palmer, Kimi, Kvyat, Magnussen, and Verstappen having retired.
  • …22 cars started.
  • …17 remain.
  • The Stewards have cleared Hamilton.
  • …In the whole skidding over the chicanes during his battle with Ricciardo thing.
  • …I think it’s another ass call, but, whatever.
  • …For whatever reason, they just refuse to ding Hamilton.
  • …I guess we should just accept that?
  • The Stewards -have- slapped Wehrlein with a penalty.
  • …For failing to keep up the minimum speed under a Safety Car period.
  • …I don’t know anything anymore.
  • Oh, man, are those dark, heavy clouds coming over the hills.
  • …The hills are alive with the sound of a potentially fascinating last few laps.
  • …Really, those clouds look like diapers after a swim.
  • The Saubers have collided!
  • …It was SO coming!
  • …Both drivers were agitated with one another.
  • …Nasr was instructed to let Ericsson by in just a few corners.
  • …He wasn’t happy, but instructions are instructions.
  • …Then, Ericsson decided to try to squeeze on by ahead of schedule.
  • …Boom.
  • …Like Kvyat and Magnussen (earlier).
  • Virtual Safety Car.
  • …For car confetti.
  • Both Saubers get going.
  • …But, I would suspect they’ll have to retire Nasr’s car.
  • …And, that they’ll have to kill Ericsson.
  • …(I say, in my Craft of Sweden Team Sweden Cross Country Ski Team hoodie.)
  • More cuddling for Hamilton and Ricciardo.
  • With Perez, right behind…
  • …Waiting for them to run into each other.
  • …You know it’s true!
  • Ericsson has retired.
  • …And, they’ll have to kill him.
  • …So, both Saubers are out.
  • At Lap 58…
  • …Palmer, Räikkönen, Kvyat, Magnussen, Verstappen, Nasr, and Ericsson have retired.
  • …Of the 22 cars on the starting grid…
  • …15 remain.
  • The Stewards have summoned Kimi.
  • …For…littering.
  • McHonda informs Button that showers are on the way.
  • …I’m not 100% sure if they mean rain showers…
  • …Or, that it’s code for retiring him…
  • …Or, if they’re calling him a smelly bastard.
  • Close call for Vettel.
  • …Who is Desperately Seeking Sergio.
  • Virtual Safety Car.
  • …There’s a big sheet of plastic, blowing around the track.
  • …Oh, it’s a tarp.
  • …A picnic tarp, maybe.
  • …Because, what you see around Monaco is, basically, tailgating.
  • …No, really.
  • …You can get a solid circuit view from the hills.
  • …People gather on balconies, on yachts,…all over.
  • …So, it could very well be.
  • Alonso radios, “Drops of rain on my visor”.
  • …So, let’s see where this goes.
  • …At Lap 71.
  • At Lap 72…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez, Vettel, and Alonso lead.
  • …With Rosberg, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Button, and Massa in the top ten.
  • …And, Gutierrez, Bottas, Wehrlein, Grosjean, and Haryanto, just waiting for the rain to take the entire front out.
  • SLAPS!
  • …5 laps remaining!
  • Lap 77…
  • …And, Sainz is reporting rain.
  • …Here.
  • …We.
  • …Go.
  • Final lap.
  • Hamilton wins.
  • Ricciardo takes second.
  • …Not fourth, as has been the case all season.
  • Perez takes third.
  • …Boom.
  • Vettel takes fourth.
  • Alonso takes fifth.
  • …Another ‘boom’.
  • Hülkenberg yoinks sixth (from Rosberg) in the last feet.
  • Rosberg survives in seventh.
  • Sainz quietly rocks eighth.
  • Button gives McHonda double points, in ninth.
  • And, it’s Massa who takes that final point.
  • Honorable mention goes to Bottas, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Wehrlein, and Haryanto.
  • …Yep, both Haas cars and both Manors finish.
  • Ooohhh…
  • …Ricciardo is not okay.
  • …He’s radioed Red Bull, “Just don’t.  There’s nothing you can say.  Just don’t.”.
  • Podium time.
  • …Goddammit, stop showing Bieber.
  • …Seriously, Ricciardo is going to cry.
  • …He is not okay.
  • …Aw, Princess Charlene is picking up on Ricciardo’s dejection.
  • …Let’s focus on Perez!
  • …Ricciardo, go hang with Perez.
  • …Okay, we’re done.
  • …Hamilton has given the first sip of champagne to Bieber.
  • …No.
  • …Just no.
  • …As Ricciardo just hangs back.
  • …And, Perez goes straight to his little team that could – and did.
  • …Okay, now Hamilton has taken it down 11 notches.
  • …He’s acknowledging Ricciardo’s performance, and getting screwed.
  • …But, the Bieber shit, right in Ricciardo’s face, ruined it.
  • …Inappropriate.
  • …In front of the royals.
  • …This is not the first time the royals have been uncomfortable.
  • …Remember when Hamilton and Rosberg were at their most brutal and Hamilton flipped out over losing it late in the race, pulling over to collect himself, then running into his marker, before acting like a spoiled brat on the podium?
  • …Anyway…
  • …Understandably, Ricciardo doesn’t want to talk about the race…
  • …How it “sucks” and  “getting screwed” and all.
  • …But, he did confirm that the team called him in for that pit stop.
  • …Which was my assumption, hearing no frantic calls for a change or anything ahead of it.
  • …So…what happened?
  • …That will be the story to follow.
  • Post-race chats…
  • Kimi confirms that he wasn’t aware that he was doing anything wrong.
  • …That he had no idea that he was dragging his front wing.
  • …That the front-left wheel was periodically turning/not turning.
  • …Which is backed up by his onboard.
  • …And, that, after his team had instructed him to stop, he couldn’t get to a place he felt safe parking the car.
  • …Which, again, was obvious by the footage.
  • …And, a fact on the tight Circuit de Monaco.
  • …I don’t know.
  • …I don’t (really) see anything punishable.
  • …He truly appears to have used his best judgement and done his best to -preserve- safety as best he could, under those circumstances.
  • A little look at the Championship standings, before I wrap this shit up…
  • The Drivers’ Championship…
  • …ROS – 106 / HAM – 82 / RIC – 66 / RAI – 61 / VET – 60
  • …VES – 38 / MAS – 37 / BOT – 29 / PER – 23 / KVY – 22
  • …GRO – 22 / ALO – 18 / SAI – 16 / HUL – 14 / MAG – 6
  • …BUT – 5 / VANDOORNE (MCLAREN RESERVE) – 1
  • …GUT, PAL, ERI, WEH, NAS, HAR – 0
  • The Constructors’ Championship…
  • …MERCEDES – 188 / FERRARI – 121 / RED BULL – 112
  • …WILLIAMS – 66 / FORCE INDIA – 37 / TORO ROSSO – 30
  • …MCLAREN – 24 / HAAS – 22 / RENAULT – 6
  • …SAUBER, MANOR – 0
  • Well…
  • …That’s that.
  • …Another great Monaco Grand Prix…
  • …That just so happened to end on a downer.
  • …But, that’s racing.
  • …It’s drama, emotions at their most intense, all changing in fractions of seconds.
  • …Why we…
  • …The drivers, the teams, the reporters, the fans, everyone…
  • …Do it every-other/every weekend is somewhere between the mysterious and the obvious.
  • …With shit like the Bieber coverage, tipping it more into the darkness of the mysterious.
  • Anyway…
  • …Next up…
  • …Canada!
  • …I am equidistant from Austin and Montreal.
  • …So, it’s proximal excitement.
  • …Practices 1 and 2 roll out at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve June 10th.
  • …With drivers taking on that infamous Wall of Champions…
  • …Named, tongue-in-cheek, for all the best drivers…
  • …Who have slammed right into it…
  • …On June 12th.
  • …Check your locals for coverage.
  • …Usually, P2 and Qualifying will air on NBCSN…
  • …CNBC if there’s a schedule conflict.
  • …Then, Canada is one of the handful of races aired on NBC.
  • …But, again, check your listings (or, the NBCSN site, their F1 Twitter feed, whatever).
  • …So, wherever it lands, we’ll think globally and act locally.
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool.
  • Au revoir, Monaco.
  • …You were lovely as always.
  • …”Grace Kelly Blues” and all.
  • …With love.
  • …See you next year.

MOTORSPORT // F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF MONACO (26.5.2016 – 29.5.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • It’s a beautiful morning…
  • …Sing it!
  • Why?
  • …Because…
  • …It’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend!
  • It’s the most…
  • …Wonderful tiiiiiiime…
  • …Of the yeeeaaarrr.
  • Yes, tomorrow is the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • …The one, I think, most people, on some level, are aware of.
  • …It’s the one I remember watching on a big-ass console TV as a toddler.
  • …It’s the one that, in spite of all its nightmarish difficulties, every driver seems to not just love, but be in love with.
  • …If you’re going to recommend one F1 race to someone…
  • …Or, if you’ve been faced with the weird challenge of watching one (yourself)…
  • …This would, for most people, (probably) be it.
  • Anyway…
  • Welcome to Qualifying!
  • …Which, if you’re in the US, is on NBCSN.
  • …And, if you’re watching, you will have just watched Sauber’s Nasr come to a halt…
  • …On track, leaving a dense cloud of smoke behind him.
  • …Because, it’s all about drama in Monaco.
  • If you’re new to Qualifying…
  • …It’s three, knock-out, sessions.
  • …Which forms the starting grid as it proceeds.
  • …With the final session establishing the first five rows.
  • …And, of course, that lucky driver who claims Pole Position.
  • …That lead car that gets to start just a smidgen ahead of the pack.
  • And, how about a quick look at the circuit?
  • …Circuit de Monaco is a street circuit.
  • …And, a very active one at that.
  • …Meaning, it (only) closes for the duration of each session.
  • …So, if someone leaks oil between sessions, the drivers will have to deal with any remaining traces.
  • …If it rains, all the oil from those streets surfaces.
  • …Surface changes, patches, everything.
  • …Those are the added obstacles.
  • …Not to mention, these are F1 cars on very narrow, old roads.
  • …So, passing is an adventure.
  • …As is the bright-to-dark-to-bright tunnel.
  • …The circuit is 3.337km (2.074mi) in length.
  • …In a 2.02 square km principality (0.78 sq mi), yes.
  • …It has 19 turns.
  • …Which gives it a singing sea serpent shape.
  • …And, every turn is named for its most distinctive landmark.
  • …Like giving directions to someone, basically.
  • …On race day, there are 78 laps planned.
  • …Which brings the total distance goal to 260.286km (161.734mi).
  • …But, this is F1, and this is Monaco, so…
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most likely, everything – and then some – will.
  • Verstappen crashes!!!
  • …In the first race since becoming the youngest driver to win an F1 race…
  • …In his first race after being promoted to Red Bull (from Toro Rosso)…
  • …18-year-old Max Verstappen has crashed out of Q1.
  • …Which will put him at the back of the grid (at this time).
  • …But, the kid can pass.
  • …So, we’ll see what he can do with it (tomorrow).
  • …Look at it this way, (maybe) he’s gotten a crash out of his system.
  • …And, maybe he learned his lesson about how not to pass at Monaco last year.
  • …Stay tuned.
  • Red Flag over, back to racing.
  • Renault’s Magnussen is under (steward) investigation for a potential pit light exit infraction.
  • …I feel like he’s had a few of those.
  • …It could be something Renault and Magnussen need to review.
  • …There could be a weird issue, there.
  • …Like Grosjean’s tunnel vision problems in 2012.
  • …Or…what was Webber’s issue?
  • …Something with an inability to sense some sort of change, or something.
  • …Anyway, Red Bull figured it out and they concocted a way of compensating for it.
  • …Or, Magnussen has some weird rebellious reaction to pitlane rules.
  • …Which can be fixed, too.
  • Last minute of Q1.
  • Here come the pushes!
  • Advancing to Q2 are…
  • …Ferrari’s Vettel, Mercedes’ Hamilton, Mercedes’ Rosberg, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, Force India’s Perez, Force India’s Hülkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, Haas’ Grosjean, Toro Rosso’s Sainz, Ferrari’s Räikkönen, McLaren’s Alonso, Williams’ Bottas, McLaren’s Button, Haas’ Gutiérrez, Williams’ Massa, and Renault’s Magnussen.
  • Out are…
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson, Renault’s Palmer, Manor’s Haryanto, and Manor’s Wehrlein.
  • …And, of course, Red Bull’s Verstappen and Sauber’s Nasr.
  • So, onto Q2 we go.
  • This circuit has got to be a giggly, childlike, blast for all the drivers who live in Monaco.
  • …I mean, wouldn’t you love free reign to speed around the streets you see on a daily-ish basis?
  • By the way…
  • …Happy Memorial Day weekend to Haas F1.
  • …And, to you, Romain Grosjean.
  • …Have a good one, cowboy!
  • …(I shall call him ‘Slim’.)
  • Does anyone (else) find the whole Monaco background thing a little distracting?
  • …It’s (empirically) cool.
  • …Monaco’s just a very unique weasel.
  • …Hopefully the drivers don’t find it distracting.
  • …It’s (already) a game of ‘How Close Can I Get to the Barriers, Without Nailing Them?’.
  • Rosberg comes as close as you can to an armco barrier.
  • …Even radioing his team over it.
  • …Maybe the Monaco-raised resident saw a friend.
  • Time is up.
  • Flying laps are a-flyin’.
  • Advancing to Q3 are…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Räikkönen, Kvyat, Sainz, Perez, Hülkenberg, and Alonso.
  • Staying (in the voice of ‘Kill Bill, Vol. 1”s The Bride) right where they are…
  • …Bottas, Gutiérrez, Button, Massa, Grosjean, and Magnussen.
  • Hey, do you suppose any of them are speeding around with visions of Grace Kelly and cary Grant, speeding through the hills (in ‘To Catch a Thief’), racing through their heads?
  • …I won’t judge.
  • …One of my earliest memories is being mesmerized by that scene.
  • ..I think it may have had a few lasting effects.
  • …Kelly, being one of my very favorite humans ever, being just one of them.
  • As the cars roll out for Q3…
  • …Hamilton comes to a halt, just feet from the Mercedes garage.
  • …Radioing with engine failure, and requesting instructions.
  • …They are allowing the car to be rolled back to the garage.
  • …So, if they can figure it out and fix it in nine minutes…
  • …He may (still) have a chance.
  • Radio transmission from Kimi…
  • …Something about someone going too slow?
  • …You know, the usual Kimi comedy.
  • Ricciardo blows through to plaid.
  • …He -does- have the all-time fastest lap Circuit de Monaco.
  • …I mean, he’s got to be fast (here).
  • …With the prospect of an encounter with his bully, looming around every corner.
  • …His ‘bully’ being Massa’s tiny, adorable son.
  • …The three of them are just menaces (of the most awesome variety) to the streets of Monaco.
  • Another guy who can tell you about the dangers is the guy behind him on the board…
  • …Rosberg.
  • …Who grew up on the mean streets of Monaco.
  • …I will never debate the phrasing of “grew up on the streets of Monaco”.
  • …It’s just such a gift to my brain.
  • Mercedes have gotten Hamilton (back) on track.
  • …By the way.
  • …There’s a lot he can do in a minute and a half.
  • …If the car is fully functioning.
  • …So, let’s see what happens.
  • Time is up.
  • Hamilton jumps into third!
  • …From tenth!
  • Ricciardo gets Pole!
  • …His first?!
  • …Ever?!
  • …How is that possible?!
  • …Anyway…
  • …It’s his today!
  • So, your top ten are…
  • …Ricciardo, Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Hülkenberg, Räikkönen, Sainz, Perez, Kvyat, and Alonso.
  • At this time, tomorrow’s starting grid looks like this…
  • …Before any (seen or unforeseen) penalties…
  • …With last year’s result in parentheses (if applicable)…
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo (5) / Mercedes’ Rosberg (1)
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton (3) / Ferrari’s Vettel (2)
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg (11) / Ferrari’s Räikkönen (6)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Sainz (10) / Force India’s Perez (7)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Kvyat (4) / McLaren’s Alonso (DNF)
  • …Williams’ Bottas (14) / Haas’ Gutiérrez (N/A)
  • …McLaren’s Button (8) / Williams’ Massa (15)
  • …Haas’ Grosjean (12) / Renault’s Magnussen (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson (13) / Renault’s Palmer (N/A)
  • …Manor’s Haryanto (N/A) / Manor’s Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Red Bull’s Verstappen (DNF) / Sauber’s Nasr (9)
  • Right.
  • Well.
  • That’s it.
  • Tomorrow…
  • …If you’re in the US, coverage kicks off on NBCSN at 6am (CT).
  • …Then, switches over to NBC at 6:30 (for another half hour of pre-race goodies).
  • …With cars rolling out at 7am.
  • …After the race, at 9am, post-race coverage bounces back to NBCSN.
  • …With a rebroadcast immediately following the post-race show.
  • …Which, by the way, as has been the case all weekend, will be live from Monaco.
  • …Monaco, Canada, and the USGP go on location, and over to NBC, every year.
  • …If you never noticed.
  • …I’m hoping Mexico is added to that roster soon.
  • Today may have been a bright, sunshiny day in the principality of Monaco.
  • …However, the forecasted weather outside looks frightful for race day.
  • …With storms and rain predicted to carry on throughout the (entire) day.
  • …But, we’ll just have to wait and see.
  • …When in F1, always predict the unpredictable.
  • …When at the Monaco Grand Prix, expect the unexpected.
  • …And, let’s be honest, the worst.
  • …In the most deliciously best way.
  • Well…
  • …That’s that for Qualifying.
  • …Let’s do something very similar…
  • …At a very similar time…
  • …Tomorrow.
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool.
  • Au revoir!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN (13.5.2016 – 15.5.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning.
  • Hey…
  • …You…
  • …Wake up and smell the F1!
  • Yep…
  • …This is F1…
  • …This is the Spanish Grand Prix…
  • …Or….
  • …Formula 1 Gran Premio de España Pirelli 2016.
  • And, if you are in the US…
  • …It is on NBCSN.
  • Okay, thanks to connectivity issues, I am running late…
  • …So, how about we just get to the most important thing…
  • …The track.
  • Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
  • …Which is in…
  • …If you didn’t make the connection…
  • …The coastal metropolis of Barcelona, Catalonia…
  • …In the east of Spain.
  • …Baaarthelona.
  • …It is 4.655km (2.892mi) in length.
  • …With 16 turns.
  • …Shaped like a very manly Spaniard, flexing for the ladies.
  • …And, run clockwise.
  • …Today, there are 66 laps scheduled.
  • …Bringing the total distance goal to 307.104km (190.826mi).
  • …Which, as always, I say because…
  • …Well…
  • …This is F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, usually…
  • …Does.
  • …It is 70ish degrees (Fahrenheit).
  • …It is sunny.
  • …It is beautiful.
  • …It is around 30F where I am.
  • …When will I learn that I have to take a vacation for once, and make it there?
  • …(Never.)
  • How about the starting grid?
  • …First off, there were zero changes.
  • …No penalties, no anything.
  • …So…
  • …With last year’s result, if applicable…
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton (2) / Mercedes’ Rosberg (1)
  • …Red Bull’s reliable toy, Ricciardo (7) / Red Bull’s newest toy, Verstappen (11)
  • …Ferrari’s Räikkönen (5) / Ferrari’s Vettel (3)
  • …Williams’ Bottas (4) / Toro Rosso’s Sainz (9)
  • …Force India’s Perez (13) McLaren’s Alonso (DNF)
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg (15) / McLaren’s Button (16)
  • …Toro Rosso’s newly demoted* Kvyat (10) / Haas’ Grosjean (8)
  • …(*And, sole Red Bull podium-holder)
  • …Renault’s Magnussen (N/A) / Haas’ Gutiérrez (N/A)
  • …Renault’s Palmer (N/A) / Williams’ Massa (6)
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson (14) / Sauber’s Nasr (12)
  • …Manor’s Wehrlein (N/A) / Manor’s Haryanto (N/A)
  • Current Drivers’ Championship standings…
  • …ROS / 100
  • …HAM / 57
  • …RAI / 43
  • …RIC / 36
  • …VET / 33
  • …MAS / 32
  • …GRO / 22
  • …KVY / 21
  • …BOT / 19
  • …VES / 13
  • …ALO / 8
  • …MAG / 6
  • …HUL / 6
  • …SAI / 4
  • …PER / 2
  • …BUT / 1
  • …Vandoorne (McLaren, in for Alonso) / 1
  • Current Constructors’ Championship standings…
  • …Mercedes / 157
  • …Ferrari / 76
  • …Red Bull / 57
  • …Williams / 51
  • …Haas / 22
  • …Toro Rosso / 17
  • …McLaren / 10
  • …Force India / 8
  • …Renault / 6
  • Cool.
  • Let’s go crazy.
  • Let’s get nuts.
  • Let’s go!!!
  • Turn 1, clear.
  • Mercedes did it!!!
  • They FINALLY did it!!!
  • They took each other out!!!!!!!
  • Reigning World Champion Hamilton and Championship leader Rosberg are out!
  • Rosberg’s seven-race winning streak, over.
  • Hamilton’s hope of a return to winning, over.
  • After so many years, of so many people around the world, not-so-secretly hoping to see this…
  • …Fully expecting to see this one of these races…
  • …They’ve (finally) done it.
  • …With Rosberg in the lead.
  • …And, Hamilton, trying to get the lead.
  • So…
  • …With a Safety Car out…
  • …At Lap 4…
  • …It’s Ricciardo, Verstappen, Sainz, and Vettel in the lead.
  • …Yes, you read that correctly.
  • …Whatever part you’re wondering about.
  • …Except that, no matter what, that crash will be the (actual) winner today.
  • …With bonus points for Hamilton, straight-shot whipping his steering handheld game console.
  • 20 non-Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 cars remain.
  • …Which entails two being out.
  • …No, I am (definitely) not done (here).
  • Vettel passes Sainz.
  • …For third.
  • Toro Rosso radios Kvyat…
  • …He passed under the Safety car.
  • …And, has to give the position back to the Incredible Hülkenberg.
  • …Kvyat’s response?
  • …An unfortunate, “You’re kidding”.
  • …Reel it in, kid; reel it in.
  • Sainz forces Kimi to detour over the speed bumps.
  • Sainz pits.
  • …So, Kimi takes that position, anyway.
  • …(Fourth.)
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • …From the lead.
  • So, Verstappen, in his first race with Red Bull, takes over.
  • …But, just a guess, Red Bull will be pitting Verstappen soon.
  • …One in, on out.
  • …Pretty standard.
  • …Yep, Verstappen pits.
  • Vettel takes the lead.
  • …Making everyone’s life just a little more difficult.
  • By the way, with this flurry of pitting, Grosjean is in second.
  • …Gutiérrez is in fifth.
  • …There’s your Haas update.
  • Shot of Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, walking to the wonderland that will be Mercedes’ office.
  • …It is reported that their drivers are waiting.
  • …I want to be in that room.
  • …Can we get a crew in to cover that?
  • Verstappen passes Grosjean.
  • Kimi passes Gutiérrez.
  • Vettel pits.
  • Niki Lauda is walking the stairs to the meeting room of magic.
  • …Fuck the race!
  • …Go to the room!!!
  • Okay, lots of debate over what happened.
  • …My take?
  • …Bottom line, if Hamilton saw that Rosberg was going to make it difficult to pass…
  • …He should have backed off.
  • …To avoid a collision.
  • …I don’t think it looked like a force-off, or full-on block.
  • …I think Hamilton’s eyes were too fixated on the prize, running either a bit overconfidently, or with some excess desperation.
  • …Rosberg was ahead, Hamilton should have backed off to avoid a collision.
  • …Bottom line.
  • …Whether it sucks, or not.
  • …But, it’s not up to me, is it?
  • At Lap 22…
  • …Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vettel, and Räikkönen lead.
  • …With Bottas, Sainz, Perez, Button, Alonso, and Massa in the top ten.
  • …Which, if you’re new to this, is the points cutoff.
  • Is someone’s car on fire?
  • …NBCSN is on a commercial split screen.
  • …I thought I saw a flaming Force India.
  • …I’m seeing Hülkenberg as stopped (on the F1 app).
  • …Yep.
  • …Mr Incredible is out.
  • …Feel free to insert Madeline Kahn’s ‘Clue’ “Flames!” – with motion.
  • Toto has left the magic room.
  • …Did he have to kill them?
  • …I mean, that’s viable, isn’t it?
  • …Were they fired?
  • …Was Toto…
  • …Very disappointed in them?
  • …The world needs to know what happened.
  • …Needs.
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • …Again, Hashtag Teen takes holds the Red Bull lead.
  • I haven’t touched on the whole Red Bull thing (yet).
  • …Frankly, I’m bored with it.
  • …I do think there’s some shady Red Bullshit going on.
  • …But, then, again, Verstappen is holding second.
  • …While Kvyat is debating giving a place back.
  • …I guess the thing I have the biggest issue I have is with the matter of fairness.
  • …Other teams can’t just swap out drivers at will.
  • …So, whether Toro Rosso is a junior team, or not, how can this be okay…
  • …Unless F1 opens up trading (as you see in baseball)?
  • …It just feels wrong.
  • Gutiérrez passes Nasr (for 13th).
  • …A pass loaded with that new car smell.
  • Verstappen pits.
  • …From the lead.
  • …2.7 second stop.
  • The Haas boys touch.
  • …A little love tap, but…
  • …No.
  • …Just, don’t.
  • Kimi pits.
  • …From the lead.
  • …2.6.
  • A little chat with Toto…
  • …He can’t even.
  • …The boys were (both) apologetic, they haven’t placed blame (strictly) on either, etc.
  • …And, he saw, as a racer, what everyone (else) saw…
  • …Hamilton came in aggressively, Rosberg made life a little difficult, Hamilton went wide, hit the grass, and that was that.
  • …Also, Paddy had to kill them.
  • Grosjean goes into the gravel.
  • …Guns it through.
  • …Ride ’em, cowboy.
  • …Yee-haw.
  • At Lap 39…
  • …Ricciardo, Verstappen, Räikkönen, and Vettel lead.
  • …All of them have pitted recently, so…
  • …Stay tuned.
  • Bottas pits.
  • …From fifth.
  • …Where he’s been hanging out.
  • …Quietly.
  • …Like the good Finn he is.
  • Oh, no…
  • …It seems that the Mercedes crash used up all the action allotted for the race.
  • …(Very little is happening.)
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • The Saubers just miss colliding.
  • …Because…
  • …Every team misinterpreted using The Beatles’ “Come Together” as a motivator (today)?
  • Oh, no!!!
  • …Alonso’s McHonda is stopped, trackside.
  • …”No power, no power.”
  • …As the tiny Spaniard walks away in (visible) frustration.
  • …In front of his home crowd.
  • …But, as always, he sticks around to help the crew remove his car.
  • …God, such a good guy.
  • …I mean, seriously.
  • …Who -is- Fernando Alonso.
  • …A two-time World Champion.
  • …Who chooses to pay ridiculous taxes, to remain at home (in Spain).
  • …Whose focus is on running a karting school.
  • …And, an F1 museum.
  • …Collecting mementos from his fellow racers (for his museum).
  • …And, collecting his fellow racers (to give the kids a thrill at his karting school).
  • …He’s caring, he’s emotional, everyone loves him, he’s (always) trying to get as many fans in his selfies…
  • …Who -is- this guy?
  • At Lap 52…
  • …Verstappen, Räikkönen, Vettel, and Ricciardo lead.
  • …Bottas, Sainz, Perez, Gutiérrez, Massa, and Kvyat hold the top ten.
  • …Ooop – Kvyat pits, Button moves up.
  • …By the way, when you’re watching Kimi, right on Verstappen, remember that…
  • …Kimi is (literally, actually, mathematically) twice Max Emilian’s age.
  • …Currently, Kimi is 36, while Verstappen is 18.
  • …Math.
  • Button radios, “I know he thinks he’s fast, but he’s not”…
  • …He, being Massa.
  • …Old driver fight!!!
  • …Shame on those who think these mid-30s drivers have no place in F1.
  • …They’re kicking ass.
  • …And, goddamn hilarious while doing it.
  • …Because, they just don’t give a shit (anymore).
  • Ricciardo laps Kvyat.
  • …Just thought I’d mention that.
  • …But…
  • …And, it’s one worth mentioning…
  • …Kvyat just had the fastest lap.
  • Shot of Geri Halliwell.
  • …The Spicy wife of (Red Bull Team Principal) Christian Horner.
  • …It’s their first anniversary (today).
  • …So, choose your (own) applicable Spice Girls song.
  • …I’m more than cool with whatever.
  • …Zig-a-zag-ah.
  • Vettel and Ricciardo come together!
  • …Ex-teammate love tap!
  • …Vettel, gesturing at Ricciardo as he retains his place.
  • …Shouting over the radio all the way.
  • By the way, Haas -did- retire Grosjean’s car.
  • …Oh, no need to hit the panic switch.
  • …First season, ups and downs, they’ve had more ups, all good.
  • Ricciardo went after Vettel again.
  • …Geez, kids.
  • …You’re going to cause (at least) three stroke-outs in your respective teams.
  • SLAPS!
  • …5 laps remaining.
  • …Verstappen leads, followed by Kimi, Vettel, and Ricciardo.
  • …Kimi is all over Verstappen, Ricciardo is all over Vettel.
  • …It’s a goddamn conga line!
  • …(Maybe) they’ll all take each other out.
  • …Bottas wins?
  • …Perez and Sainz follow?
  • …Surprise?
  • Ricciardo has a puncture!
  • …That thing’s gone.
  • …He has to pit.
  • …Pressure is off Vettel.
  • Lap 66.
  • Oh, you are watching history, kids!!!
  • Max Verstappen has won the Spanish Grand Prix!!!!!!!
  • …In his first run in the Red Bull.
  • …With zero testing.
  • …At age 18.
  • …The youngest F1 race winner of all time.
  • …And, everyone knew this was a very serious possibility.
  • …Everyone is standing a cheering.
  • …All the marshals are cheering, many doing praise bow-downs.
  • Um…
  • …Okay…
  • Räikkönen takes a brilliant, very close second.
  • Vettel wins the vicious battle for third.
  • Ricciardo holds fourth.
  • And, Bottas maintains that quiet fifth.
  • Sainz comes in sixth…
  • …The remaining Spaniard, cruises around, flying the Spanish flag.
  • Perez, Massa, Button, and Kvyat complete the top ten.
  • Gutiérrez, Ericsson, Palmer, Magnussen, Nasr, Wehrlein, and Haryanto round out the grid.
  • With Hamilton, Rosberg, Hülkenberg, Alonso, and Grosjean retiring.
  • Everyone rushes over to Verstappen.
  • …Vettel even helps him with his belts.
  • …Alonso runs over, from wherever he was, to bear hug the kid.
  • …Lauda…everyone…
  • …Just an amazing showing of genuine excitement.
  • Podium time.
  • …So, that’s the Dutch national anthem.
  • …Which hasn’t been heard (in this context) since…
  • …His dad?
  • …Shot of Horner and Halliwell.
  • …Horner, with Halliwell’s daughter on his shoulders.
  • …Bluebell just celebrated her 10th birthday (yesterday).
  • …So, could this weekend be more exciting for the Horner-Halliwell clan?
  • …I’m going to go with…
  • …No.
  • …Not possible.
  • …Yes, again, you are seeing this 100% correctly.
  • …No need to adjust your television sets.
  • …This is not “The Outer Limits”.
  • …That is 18-year-old Max Verstappen, on the top of the podium.
  • …Hovering above Ferrari’s World Champions, Räikkönen and Vettel.
  • …Just legal enough to be drinking that champagne.
  • Okay…
  • …NBCSN’s coverage has yielded to FA Cup coverage.
  • …Yes, in lieu of what just may be the most exciting, interesting podium of the season.
  • …I guess Friday’s P2 coverage was halted by an early morning abridged rebroadcast of a Stanley Cup finals game, too.
  • …But, to be fair, there’s no way anyone could have prepared for this.
  • …The whole Verstappen/Red Bull thing (all) happened in just a matter of days.
  • …A definite shame.
  • …But, survival is very possible.
  • …Unlike the two Mercedes drivers, who were never heard from again.
  • So…
  • Drivers’ Championship Standings…
  • …#6 ROS / 100
  • …#7 RAI / 61
  • …#44 HAM / 57
  • …#5 VET / 48
  • …#3 RIC / 48
  • …#33 VES / 38
  • …#19 MAS / 36
  • …#77 BOT / 29
  • …#26 KVY / 22
  • …#8 GRO / 22
  • …#55 SAI / 12
  • …#14 ALO / 8
  • …#11 PER / 8
  • …#20 MAG / 6
  • …#27 HUL / 6
  • …#22 BUT / 3
  • …#47 VAN / 1
  • …#30 PAL / 0
  • …#21 GUT / 0
  • …#9 ERI / 0
  • …#94 WEH / 0
  • …#12 NAS / 0
  • …#88 HAR / 0
  • Constructors’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes / 157
  • …Ferrari / 109
  • …Red Bull / 94
  • …Williams / 65
  • …Toro Rosso / 26
  • …Haas / 22
  • …Force India / 14
  • …McLaren / 12
  • …Renault / 6
  • …Sauber / 0
  • …Manor / 0
  • Now, as you’re looking at those standings, try to review (in your mind) just how each race has gone.
  • …How everyone-everywhere the races have been.
  • …How competitive these cars (really) are this season.
  • …How fierce battles, up and down the grid, have been.
  • …How difficult it has been to pinpoint a midfield.
  • …How even the Manors have danced, not just in the top ten, but in the top five.
  • …Fleeting, yes.
  • …But, often, that’s all it takes in F1.
  • …And, as we’ve seen, even the top teams have struggled with serious ups and downs.
  • …Every single driver is in this Championship.
  • …Whether they have points at this time, or not.
  • …Do not jump to underestimate any driver, any car.
  • …Everyone is in it.
  • …And, as we saw here (today), ageism has no place in F1.
  • …Whether you’re in your teens, 20s, or 30s, is beside the point of ‘can you drive?’.
  • …28-year-old Vettel can just as well as 36-year-old Räikkönen can as well as 18-year-old Verstappen can.
  • …So, let’s just knock the shit off and accept that.
  • Okay…
  • …Well…
  • …As much as I hate to do it…
  • …On such an exciting, historic day…
  • …That’s that for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
  • Next up…
  • …The big one…
  • …Thee one…
  • …The one -I- remember watching on a massive console TV, as a kid, in suburban Minneapolis…
  • …The one that dragged me into F1…
  • …Monaco.
  • …Which kicks off with P1 and P2 on…
  • …I (almost) said Friday…
  • …No, Friday is an off day in Monaco.
  • …Thursday, May 26th.
  • …With P3 and Qualifying on Saturday, the 28th.
  • …And, finally, the weird, wild race that is the Monaco Grand Prix, on the 29th.
  • …So, note that, and note it again.
  • Until then…
  • …Toodles!
  • ***Added***
  • …The Mercedes Instagram account has posted…
  • …’TW: “We won’t change our approach.  We owe it to #F1 and to the fans to let them race.”…’
  • …So, I wonder who he’s talking about.
  • …As Paddy and Niki had to kill Rosberg and Hamilton.
  • …Anyway, really, I don’t see what happened as anything other than a racing incident.
  • …Yes, it could have been avoided, has either Rosberg given Hamilton more room (to pass him for the lead?), or Hamilton backed off (to open Rosberg’s lead?).
  • …Shit happens, and this one was a long time in the making.
  • …There’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
  • …I assume they (both) are more than painfully-fully aware of what this cost (both) the team, and their selves.
  • …So, everyone should just kick back and focus on the comedy error.
  • …That, ultimately, made a teenage boy’s dream came true, while making F1 history.
  • …Now, let’s move onto the big question…
  • …Where do you think they disposed of the bodies?
  • Have a sexy Sunday!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF RUSSIA (29.4.2016 – 1.5.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning?
  • No.
  • Great morning!
  • Why?
  • Because…
  • …It’s the Russian Grand Prix!
  • …Which is on CNBC (in the US).
  • Shall we just get to the circuit details?
  • …Sure.
  • Sochi Autodrom.
  • …Sochi, Russia.
  • …Which opened in 2014.
  • …And, is located between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains.
  • …With a backdrop of classic, Russian architecture.
  • …And, Putinland.
  • …(The nickname for the local amusement park.)
  • …The circuit is shaped like a breakdancer, doing the worm in Red Square.
  • …It is 5.848km (3.634mi) in length.
  • …With 18 turns.
  • …There are 53 laps scheduled (today).
  • …Which will bring the goal total distance to 309.745km (192.467mi).
  • In 2015…
  • …It was Mercedes’ Hamilton who took the win.
  • …With Ferrari’s Vettel and Force India’s Perez donning sweet hats on the podium (with him).
  • And, in 2016, your starting grid looks like this…
  • …Mercedes’ Rosberg / Williams’ Bottas
    …Ferrari’s Räikkönen / Williams’ Massa
    …Red Bull’s Ricciardo / Force India’s Perez
    …Ferrari’s Vettel / Red Bull’s Kvyat
    …Toro Rosso’s Verstappen / Mercedes’ Hamilton
    …Toro Rosso’s Sainz / McLaren’s Button
    …Force India’s Hülkenberg / McLaren’s Alonso
    …Haas’ Grosjean / Haas’ Gutierrez
    …Renault’s Magnussen / Renault’s Palmer
    …Sauber’s Nasr / Manor’s Wehrlein
    …Manor’s Haryanto / Sauber’s Ericsson
  • The air temperature is (once again, like for Qualifying) 60-ish (Fahrenheit).
  • …Bringing the track temp to 100 million.
  • The sun is out.
  • Let’s go!
  • Rosberg pulls away!
  • …This is new for the Mercs, who have had weirdly hideous starts.
  • So much bumping and grinding!!!
  • Ferrari, Red Bull, Force India…
  • Vettel slams into the wall!!!
  • …Vettel is out!!!
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg is out!!!
  • Vettel is…
  • …Picking up the pieces of his car.
  • …And, putting them onto/into his crushed car.
  • Perez is scooting around the track with the remains of his rear-right, flapping in his wind.
  • Aaannnddd, we have a Safety Car.
  • …I believe it’s of the Virtual variety.
  • …Nope, here comes the Safety Car.
  • …Lots of debris to clear.
  • So…
  • Wait…
  • …Um…
  • …So…
  • …Rather than the standard hitching a ride…
  • …Vettel has taken command of the scooter, and is giving the marshal a ride.
  • …That’s…weird/nice.
  • …Cool for the driver.
  • Anyway…
  • …At Lap 3…
  • …Under a Safety Car…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Räikkönen, Bottas, and Massa on top.
  • …With Vettel, Mr Incredible, and Haryanto, out.
  • …Well, I mean, I guess they have to make up for having zero retirements at China.
  • Hamilton overtakes Massa.
  • Bottas overtakes Kimi.
  • Now…
  • …Back to Vettel…
  • …Who has a mouth like mine.
  • …Colorful.
  • …Artful.
  • …One of the hits he took was from Kvyat.
  • …Remember how pissed Vettel was (at Kvyat) after the Chinese Grand Prix?
  • …That lovely pre-podium confrontation, broadcast to the world?
  • …How lucky is Kvyat that they’re in Russia right now?
  • …Just saying.
  • At Lap 7…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Bottas, Hamilton, and Räikkönen.
  • …Yes, Kimi has been overtaken by Hamilton.
  • …Aaannnddd, it’s another troubled round for the Prancing Horse.
  • …Who may have to embrace being the Disco Donkey, if this keeps up.
  • Oh, no.
  • …Replay from Kvyat’s onboard show that…
  • …It wasn’t two cars, nailing Vettel.
  • …It was two hits from Kvyat.
  • …If F1 has ever considered steam power…
  • …See Sebastian Vettel.
  • 10-second penalty for Kvyat.
  • …Something about causing an accident.
  • …I guess.
  • And, a stop-and-go penalty for Gutierrez.
  • …Who nailed Mr Incredible.
  • Kvyat sits in 19th, while Gutierrez sits in 18th.
  • …At the moment.
  • At Lap 13…
  • …Here’s a quick look at the remaining cars…
  • …Top 10 – ROS BOT HAM RAI MAS VES ALO GRO MAG PAL
  • …Then – BUT PER WEH ERI RIC SAI NAS GUT KVY
  • …Drivers know Sochi as a tough track to pass on.
  • …And, you can see that reflected in the standings.
  • Nasr pits with a puncture.
  • …No biggie, though.
  • Bottas pits.
  • …You can soundtrack pit stops with armpit farts, if you want.
  • …2.7-second stop.
  • …Williams has a strong history of weak pit stops.
  • …Like, lethal, race-killing stops.
  • …Including, but not limited to, putting on one wrong tire.
  • …So, they’ve made it a point to ace that shit.
  • Magnussen pits.
  • …3.4.
  • A 3.2 stop for Hamilton.
  • …Oh, and it’s a race at the exit!
  • …Side-by-side with Bottas.
  • …For second.
  • …Bottas puts his Nordic eyes into it and pulls ahead, as Hamilton rejoins.
  • Hamilton has (ultimately) gotten the best of Bottas.
  • Oh, and, somehow, Alonso has passed Bottas, too.
  • Which leaves the question…
  • …Is there something wrong with Bottas’ car?
  • …Hopefully, not.
  • …He’s just overtaken Alonso.
  • Stop for Kimi…
  • …2.4.
  • Stop for Rosberg…
  • …2.5.
  • With all the pitting…
  • …And, Sochi being a rough circuit for passing.
  • …At Lap 23…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Verstappen, Hamilton, and Kimi on top.
  • …Strike that…
  • …Verstappen pits.
  • …Move those up, and toss Bottas in for your top four.
  • …That said, the pitting flurry and all, I won’t bother with a full line-up.
  • …Right now.
  • If you missed it, there was a shot of Vettel, over at the Red Bull pit wall, chatting with (former boss, Kvyat’s current boss) Red Bull’s Christian Horner.
  • …I want to know if he went over, or was called over for a chat (about what happened).
  • …It looked civil, they’re friends.
  • …I would suspect there are some valid concerns on both ends.
  • …I’m just curious as to how it was initiated.
  • Perez radios his team, “You like my pace?”.
  • …I don’t know.
  • …I liked it.
  • …It was like weird club chat.
  • …It should be noted that both Force India drivers are celebrating their 100th starts today.
  • …Well, they were trying to.
  • …Technically, they (both) started.
  • …And, technically, Perez is (still) going.
  • …But, isn’t that just how the universe works?
  • Okay, at Lap 28, things have calmed down a tad…
  • …So, it’s Rosberg, Hamilton, Räikkönen, and Bottas on top.
  • …With Massa, Verstappen, Alonso, Ericsson, Ricciardo, and Magnussen rounding out the top ten.
  • Sainz gets a 10-second penalty.
  • …For forcing Palmer off track.
  • Nasr gets a five-second penalty.
  • …For failing to adhere to track boundary rules.
  • …He went inside a T2 marker, rather than going around it, when rejoining the track.
  • …No excises, but I think it’s easy to see those incidents as honest mistakes.
  • …Ones that don’t even register, or register right after they happen, as “Oh, shit!” moments.
  • …Ah, well.
  • …Train, train, and train some more.
  • The NBCSN crew is (finally) addressing (Force India boss) Vijay Mallya.
  • …They forgot a few things, though.
  • …Okay, yes, the Indian government has revoked his passport and visa.
  • …And, they’ve called for the UK to deport him (assuming he’s in the UK).
  • …But, they forgot to mention that there is (actually, factually) a warrant out for his arrest.
  • …Not just for money owed.
  • …But, for money laundering.
  • …So, if you’re wondering where he is (this weekend)…
  • …Force India might be, too.
  • …And, they’re (probably) wondering how much longer they’ll have jobs.
  • …It’s a truly terrible situation.
  • …Somehow, worse than Sauber’s weird legal issues (over the last few years).
  • …So, I guess, congrats on that?
  • Verstappen pulls off track and gets out of the car.
  • …Ending his points streak.
  • …In a cloud of engine failure.
  • …(Hashtag ‘teen’.)
  • Mercedes radios Hamilton…
  • …”It looks like we have a water pressure issue, a water pressure issue.”
  • …Hmmm…
  • …He’s been setting fastest laps.
  • …And has been holding second for a while, now.
  • …After starting from 10th.
  • …Isn’t F1 just interesting?
  • …Those standing by “no”, please explain…
  • …what your deal is.
  • …So, everyone behind Hamilton…
  • …Think…
  • …What would Salt-N-Pepa do?
  • …(They’d push it; they’d push it real good.)
  • At Lap 42…
  • …Your top five – ROS HAM RAI BOT MAS
  • …Completing the top 10 – ALO MAG GRO PER SAI
  • …Rounding out the grid – BUT PAL RIC ERI KVY NAS GUT WEH
  • …Out – VET HUL HAR VES
  • Mercedes have informed Hamilton that “The situation has stabilized”.
  • …OR, HAS IT?
  • …DUM-DUM-DUUUMMM.
  • Just a little Championship reminder…
  • …Drivers’ – ROS 75 / HAM 39 / RIC 36 / VET 33 / RAI 28 / MAS 22 / KVY 21 / GRO 18 / VES 13 / BOT 7 / HUL 6 / SAI 4 / Vandoorne (McLaren reserve) 1
  • Constructors’ – Mercedes 114 / Ferrari 61 / Red Bull 57 / Williams 29 / Haas 18 / Toro Rosso 17 / Force India 6 / McHonda 1 / Renault 0 / Sauber 0 / Manor 0
  • Well, there’s Putin.
  • …Doing it wrong, again.
  • …No shirt, on horse.
  • …Is it that difficult?
  • …Jeez.
  • …(If I’m never heard from again…yeah.)
  • SLAPS!
  • …5 Laps remaining.
  • Button on Sainz…
  • …For that final point…
  • …He does it!
  • …The 36-year-old passes the remaining Toro Rosso youth.
  • …In the words of Soul Coughing…
  • …”Move aside, and let the man go through, let the man go through, through…”
  • …(“And, it’s on / super bon-bon / super bon-bon”!)
  • Back to Putin…
  • …How come I wasn’t invited to that party?
  • …Is it because I can’t sit upright at the moment?
  • …I could see that, sure.
  • …What on earth would I say to Putin, you might ask?
  • …”So…you like nesting dolls?  I do.  I have an idea.  Bernie…”
  • …Then, Putin would laugh, and call Bernie a “little man”.
  • Final lap.
  • Will Rosberg do it?
  • Yep.
  • Rosberg wins his seventh (consecutive) race.
  • …Only Ascari, Schumacher, and Vettel have done that.
  • …And, Rosberg had Pole and fastest lap.
  • Hamilton and Räikkönen complete the podium.
  • Bottas, Massa, Alonso, Magnussen, Grosjean, Perez, and Button score points.
  • …Yes, both McHondas.
  • …Yes, Perez came back from that floppy tire incident.
  • …Yes, Haas are back in the points.
  • …Yes, Renault and Magnussen’s first points.
  • …Yes, it’s a great day for the “old” (yeah, mid-30s) men of F1 (Kimi, Button, Massa, Alonso).
  • Ricciardo, Sainz, Palmer, Ericsson, Kvyat, Nasr, Gutierrez, and Wehrlein put up great fights just to stay alive, but, unfortunately, there just aren’t enough points to go around.
  • Oh, hey, that’s Putin…
  • …Laughing with…
  • …Kimi.
  • …No one else.
  • …Just Kimi.
  • …Bernie looks dejected.
  • …Because, Putin just wants to hang out with Kimi.
  • …Seriously, it’s the only (real) interaction happening.
  • …”I like him.  (Maybe) we should buy him.”
  • …Aw, Rosberg puts his arm around Bernie.
  • …”It’s okay, I (still) almost like you.”
  • Podium time!
  • …Putin -hearts- Kimi most.
  • …Putin hands the trophy to Rosberg.
  • …”Good job.  You’re almost as good as Kimi.”
  • …See?!  Putin got up further and spent more time with Kimi!!!
  • …That’s Putin love, kids!
  • …Yes, drink up, Kimi.
  • …Hamilton looks a little bummed.
  • …And, I’m not feeling a pouty kid thing.
  • …I think the reliability issues are getting to him.
  • …Like he just doesn’t have control over the situation.
  • …Which is acceptable, and very understandable.
  • …Silly as it seems, for a three-time World Champion, coming from a 10th-place start to second.
  • …Kimi…
  • …Go team, run-on sentence, pretty okay, run-on story, disappointment, abrupt end.
  • …Correct, no?
  • …Double peace sign and thumbs up from Minttu (Virtanen, Kimi’s fiancee)!
  • …Putin would agree.
  • Wow…
  • …Ricciardo is saying that Kyvat owes a lot of people, including himself, an apology for his first lap actions.
  • …Very calmly, very nicely, but very seriously.
  • …The reason being that it set the tone for the race.
  • Kvyat stands by it being a racing incident.
  • …But, acknowledges that the whole paddock will be expecting an apology from him.
  • …However, he’s gone on the defensive, saying that he’s ready for attacks.
  • …Ooohhh, don’t tip this over, from confident driver, into cocky kid.
  • …Tread lightly.
  • …Christian Horner is a pretty relaxed guy.
  • …But, if there’s one thing he doesn’t let fly, it’s questionable track behavior.
  • …Recall him warning Vettel, “Don’t be silly, Seb”, after he (blatantly) ignored instructions to back off (then teammate) Webber.
  • …So, with complaints rolling in from across the paddock, and including a less-than-his-usual-smiling-self Ricciardo…
  • …You can expect Horner to start some very serious discussions with his young driver.
  • …It’s just a matter of finding that balance between knowing when to push and when to back off just a bit, I do believe.
  • …And, of course, balancing confidence and humility.
  • …He’s young.
  • …He is what he is (-cough- Millennial – cough-), and he can (still) be trained.
  • On a much lighter note…
  • …Smiles upon smiles at Haas.
  • …I mean, if having two cars finishing, but outside the points (at China) is a bad day…
  • …Then, there’s not one thing to worry about.
  • …Every team and every driver has ups and downs.
  • …And, look who bounced back.
  • …Gutierrez is (still) waiting for a clean run.
  • …But, Grosjean was (back) in the points, and Gutierrez finished.
  • …Both cars went to Q2.
  • …All remains amazing at Haas.
  • …IN THEIR FRESHMAN YEAR.
  • Okay, well, that’s that for another Russian Grand Prix.
  • …There has been a lot of talk about turning it into a night race.
  • …In fact, they pushed for it (for a while) in 2016.
  • …But, as you can see, it stayed in the sun.
  • …Stay tuned.
  • Next up…
  • …Spain.
  • …Barthelona.
  • …Which will kick off (with P1 and P2) May 13th.
  • …At this point, it looks like I’ll (only) be able to catch the race.
  • …But, I’ll see what I can do.
  • Until then…
  • …Happy May Day!
  • …(Hopefully, not of the calling it variety – like Vettel.)
  • Toodles!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF RUSSIA (29.4.2016 – 1.5.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Good morning!
  • Good – Russian Grand Prix Qualifying – day!
  • Which is on CNBC (in the US), if you’re wondering.
  • Okay…
  • …The Russian Grand Prix…
  • …At the Sochi Autodrom.
  • …Sochi, Russia.
  • …If you weren’t clear on the ‘Russia’ element.
  • …5.848km (3.634mi) in length.
  • …18 turns.
  • …On race day, there are 53 laps scheduled.
  • …Which I say, because, well, it’s F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most likely, in some capacity, will.
  • …Anyway, that will bring the goal total distance to 309.745km (192.467mi).
  • In 2015…
  • …Podium finishers received the best hats ever.
  • …Yes, that’s what’s important.
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton took the win.
  • …Ferrari’s Vettel took second.
  • …Force India’s Perez took third.
  • …A very hard-earned podium, after a very long drought.
  • …And, Williams’ Massa took fourth.
  • Aaannnddd, welcome to the 2016 round.
  • …Which can be summarized by the word ‘spin’.
  • …Serious grip issues.
  • …But, as Q1 rolls on, it would appear that most of the tire-track formula issues have been figured out.
  • …And, as usual, it’s (pretty much) been a Mercedes/Ferrari show.
  • …With some Red Bull and Williams tossed in.
  • …Because, those are shaking out to be the front runners.
  • …Thus far.
  • …In this crazy, everyone everywhere, everyone has a shot season.
  • …Three practice sessions down…
  • …Qualifying and the race to go.
  • Q1 (16 minutes) comes to an end…
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton, Mercedes’ Rosberg, Ferrari’s Vettel, and Ferrari’s Räikkönen come out on top.
  • …With Williams’ Bottas and Massa, Toro Rosso’s Sainz, McLaren’s Alonso, Force India’s Perez, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, Toro Rosso’s Verstappen, Red Bull’s Kvyat, Haas’ Grosjean, Force India’s Hülkenberg, and Haas’ Gutierrez advancing to Q2.
  • …Out are Renault’s Magnussen and Palmer, Sauber’s Nasr, Manor’s Wehrlein and Haryanto, and Sauber’s Ericsson.
  • …We take those top 16, and mosey onto 15 minutes of Q2.
  • Shot of dolphins, just doing their amazing dolphin thing, in the Black Sea.
  • …Yet, all I’m thinking is Ben Stiller, frantically yelling “PORPOISES!!!”, pronouncing it “porpooses”, in ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’.
  • …See it.
  • And, while I’m on ambience…
  • …It wouldn’t be the Russian Grand Prix if I failed to mention the rides of Putinland in the background.
  • …Past that are snow-capped Caucasus..
  • …Like the rest of the world, there’s some chilly spring weather in the air.
  • …Bringing overcast skies and a chilly 60-ish degrees (Fahrenheit) to the resort town, and its track.
  • Ricciardo’s right-side mirror is flapping in the gentle breeze of his own making.
  • Checkered flag on Q2…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Räikkönen, Bottas, Massa, Perez, Verstappen, Ricciardo, and the lone Russian that is Daniil Kvyat move onto the final session.
  • …With Sainz, Button, Hülkenberg, Alonso, Grosjean, and Gutierrez staying…
  • …In the tone of The Bride (in ‘Kill Bill, Vol.1’)…
  • …Right where they are.
  • Hey, if you’re very on top of things, and all over attendance…
  • …You may be looking around, wondering…
  • …Where’s (Force India boss) Vijay Mallya?
  • …Well…
  • …India has revoked his visa and has demanded that the UK deport him.
  • …Because, there’s a warrant out for his arrest.
  • …Among other things, money laundering tops the list.
  • …Aaannnddd, they’re not (actually) sure where he is.
  • …I would suspect that going to work might make it easier for him to be found.
  • …So…
  • …There you go.
  • Breaking news…
  • …Via everyone and their mother…
  • …F1, NBC Sports, Mercedes AMG F1, etc, all official…
  • …Apparently, Hamilton’s car suffered a power unit failure during Q2.
  • …He will not take part in Q3.
  • And, remember that Vettel has a five-place penalty (gearbox change).
  • …So, who will be at the top?
  • …Who will be in the front two rows (on the grid)?
  • …Someone interesting could be in the mix.
  • …Let’s find out.
  • Q3, on.
  • Hamilton is reporting that this is the same power failure he experienced at China.
  • …So, the Hamilton/Mercedes reliability mystery continues.
  • …And, yet, he seems okay.
  • …Three Championships and turning 30 seems to have chilled Hamilton a bit.
  • …Which is so awesome to see.
  • …I much prefer dog-and-family-loving, nice guy Lewis (to tantrum-ing, cool-guy Lewis).
  • …So, mellow Lewis is nice to see.
  • …It -is- a shame to see anyone have to battle reliability issues, though.
  • …But, I think he can handle it.
  • …He (certainly) can roll with it.
  • Q3 comes to an end…
  • …Season-dominator Rosberg takes Pole.
  • …His 24th.
  • …Tying Niki Lauda.
  • …Vettel takes second (but, remember that penalty).
  • …Bottas takes third (and, will start at the front).
  • …Giving the top three a nesting doll effect, when lined up podium-style.
  • …(Nope, Russia, can’t stop, won’t stop, love it all!)
  • …Räikkönen and Massa complete the top five (adjust as necessary).
  • …With Ricciardo, Perez, Kvyat, Verstappen, and Hamilton rounding out the top ten.
  • …Perez just likes this circuit, doesn’t he?
  • …I’d love to see him have a great race.
  • …So, let’s do this.
  • …Same with Williams.
  • …Great racers, rough start to the season.
  • …I think it’s go time.
  • So, as of now, your grid looks like…
  • …ROS / BOT
  • …RAI / MAS
  • …RIC / PER
  • …VET / KVY
  • …VES / HAM
  • …SAI / BUT
  • …HUL / ALO
  • …GRO / GUT
  • …MAG / PAL
  • …NAS / WEH
  • …HAR / ERI
  • …But, remember, a lot can happen between the end of Qualifying and the start of the race.
  • …And, I (still) think that, if F1 wants to spice up Qualifying, they should screw it all together, and just line the grid up by driver height.
  • …I don’t care which way they go.
  • …Tallest to shortest, shortest to tallest…
  • …It would be interesting either way.
  • …Think about it.
  • …ESPECIALLY, in Russia.
  • …Because, nesting dolls, yes.
  • …God, I love them!
  • …I love Russia!
  • …Man, am I a disappointment to my Finnish ancestors in every way!
  • On that note…
  • …If you’re in the US…
  • …Coverage starts at 6am (CT), on CNBC.
  • …Yes, got that, CNBC (again).
  • …Tune in, so you can see the finale of the shit show that is “Where Will Hamilton End Up”!
  • …Ooo – he’s got that potential track limit violation penalty looming.
  • …He’s supposed to meet with the stewards any minute!
  • Peace out, peeps!

MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2016 RALLY ARGENTINA (21.4.2016 – 24.4.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS18 (POWER STAGE)…

  • Good morning!
  • Welcome (back) to the Americas!
  • This is YPF Rally Argentina.
  • …And, this is SS18.
  • …The Power Stage.
  • …And, if you’re in the US, it is on MAVTV.
  • So…
  • …SS18…
  • …El Condor…
  • …Take 2.
  • …As the three-stage day started with a very foggy loop of it.
  • …It is 16.32km (10.14mi) in length.
  • …But, a very deceiving number…
  • …Remember, numbers never lie, because they never tell the whole story.
  • …And, the story of El Condor is a tale of a very steep, narrow, rocky mountain road.
  • …Prone to mountain maladies, from morning frost (and, even ice – remember, it is Autumn in South America…and, a mountain) to, as we saw this morning, variant fog.
  • …And, yes, it -is- the Power Stage.
  • …Which means bonus points for the top three.
  • …One point for third, two for second, three for first.
  • …Not to mention, it being the last chance dance and dash, and all.
  • In the first loop of El Condor (SS16)…
  • …It was DMACK’s Tänak/Mõlder who took the top time.
  • …After being the first to launch their car into the zero-vis fog.
  • …Followed by Volkswagen’s Ogier/Ingrassia, Volkswagen II’s Mikkelsen/Jæger, Hyundai’s Paddon/Kennard, and Hyundai’s Sordo/Martí.
  • Here we go.
  • DMACK’s Tänak and Mõlder.
  • …Car 12.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …DMACK tires.
  • …They stand in 16th (overall).
  • …Courtesy of a broken alternator (on Saturday).
  • …But, won the first loop (of El Condor).
  • Fuckmatie’s Bertelli and Scattolin.
  • …Car 37.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …Pirelli tires.
  • …Standing in 14th (overall).
  • …That one was thanks to an electrical failure.
  • …The Fiestas just haven’t been performing very well this weekend.
  • …It happens.
  • …Nothing to do with the drivers.
  • …Nothing to do with the (general) quality of the car (in general).
  • …It just happens.
  • …The Italians took ninth in the first loop.
  • Volkswagen Motorsport’s Latvala and Anttila.
  • …Car 2.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Yesterday, they lost the lead, along with a lot of their car, in a pretty horrific barrel roll.
  • …I guess I should have known / by the way they parked their car sideways / that it wouldn’t last.
  • …Lead ’em and leave ’em fast.
  • …Sorry.
  • …I’m (about) half an hour away from Paisley Park.
  • …It would have been wrong not to.
  • …This weekend, respect for Prince’s death > respect for Jerry Matt’s lead loss.
  • …But, thanks to all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, et al.
  • …They are in the final points position (10th).
  • …Taking seventh in the first loop.
  • Privateers Solberg and Minor.
  • …Car 16.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Running in ninth.
  • …After a fierce battle knocked their Fiesta out of a long-held seventh.
  • …But, the thing to remember (here), is that this is (only) their second outing of 2016.
  • …And, prior to Rally Sweden, they hadn’t been able to put together a ride since Sweden 2015.
  • …So, Solberg and Minor.
  • …They’re just that good.
  • …Just ignore that 12th-place in the first loop.
  • M-Sport’s Camilli and Veillas.
  • …Car 6.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Standing in eighth (overall).
  • …After the first loop, when asked if he enjoyed it, he responded, “NO!”.
  • …But, the rookie made it through, and is on his way to a solid finish.
  • …Tossing an impressive sixth-place finish in the foggy first loop into the mix.
  • Okay…
  • …Some news…
  • …Tänak/Mõlder finished the stage with a flapping tire.
  • …But, the key word is ‘finished’.
  • …Some Fiesta issues, but, otherwise, another fine rally for the rookie team’s sole driver.
  • …Further back, the Jer-Bear and Miikka have…somehow…beached their VW.
  • …It is partially blocking the road.
  • …Race, on.
  • …But, mind that narrow gap.
  • …Jerry Matt had reported that the handling was a disaster (today), and that the car was fixed enough, but quite fragile.
  • …But, the team sent them and it out (anyway).
  • …Solberg is reporting that it looked like the VW -had- collided with the barrier wall.
  • Hyundai Motorsport’s Neuville and Gilsoul.
  • …Car 3.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Standing in sixth (overall).
  • …They, too, suffered some early mechanical gremlins.
  • …But, have shot back to win ‘comeback of the rally’.
  • …However, the first loop was not one of the highlights.
  • …Taking eighth.
  • M-Sport WRT’s Østberg and Fløene.
  • …Car 5.
  • …The most successful of the struggling Ford Fiesta RSes.
  • …(On Michelin tires.)
  • …Standing in fifth.
  • …They had a bit of a miserable first loop, taking 10th.
  • The Finns have moved their car…
  • …Kind of…
  • …But, it has kind of a Marnie the Dog steering lean.
  • …Oh, and…
  • …Okay, Finnish (usually) sounds a bit hostile…
  • …As cute as it looks, written…
  • …But, I think their yelling at each other.
  • …Like, seriously.
  • …Uh…
  • …Moving on…
  • Hyundai Motorsport’s Sordo and Martí.
  • …Car 4.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Holding onto another great drive, standing in fourth (overall).
  • …The Spaniards took fifth in this morning’s loop.
  • Volkswagen Motorsport II’s Mikkelsen and Jæger.
  • …Car 9.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …A slow start, but they’ve held on, and held steady, to earn third (overall).
  • …And, they took third in the first loop.
  • Volkswagen Motorsport’s Ogier and Ingrassia.
  • …Car 1.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Running in second.
  • …But having closed the gap to 2.6 seconds just in the last two stages.
  • …(Having started the day with a nearly 30-second gap.)
  • …They took second in the first loop.
  • …And, Ogier has a strange addiction to Power Stage wins.
  • …So…
  • Hyundai Motorsport N’s Paddon and Kennard enter the stage.
  • …Car 20.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Leading.
  • …And, on his way to his first win.
  • …But, again, just barely.
  • …This could be the disappointment of the rally.
  • …Or, another spectacular Argentina end.
  • …They took fourth in the first loop.
  • …Let’s just (all) stop breathing and see what he can do, eh?
  • How hard is your heart pounding right now?
  • …Mine is racing these competing cars.
  • …I made sure to pee before this.
  • …And, I have to nervous-pee SO badly right now!
  • …Can we stop watching the onboard?
  • …It’s freaking me out!
  • …I don’t want to type through throw-up.
  • PADDON WINS!!!
  • PAADDON AND KENNARD WIN ARGENTINA!!!
  • And, someone has (finally) told them!!!
  • Last year, it was Meeke and Nagle, getting their first win at Argentina.
  • This year, it’s Paddon and Kennard.
  • Like Meeke and Nagle, it’s been a long-time coming.
  • So many close calls.
  • Just missing out.
  • And, now, it’s theirs.
  • And, they did it in Hyundai’s third car!
  • …Look, they all have to take a turn.
  • …So, it’s just a formality.
  • …A few mechanical differences.
  • …But, they keep all three cars in top shape.
  • …Because, they know all three teams can get it done, as long as they’ve got the tools to do so.
  • The first win for Paddon and Kennard.
  • The first win for a Kiwi.
  • The first win for the 2016 i20.
  • Hashtag that shit ‘awesome’ and shout it from the summit of Mt Cook!
  • …(Or, not.  I take avalanche safety very seriously.)
  • Happy (belated) 29th birthday, Hiddin Piddin!
  • Okay, so, how did that (all) shake down?
  • …Paddon/Kennard took three bonus points with a blistering first.
  • …11.2 seconds ahead of their ridiculously fast teammates, Sordo/Martí.
  • …Who took two bonus points from that run.
  • …With Ogier/Ingrassia taking the final bonus point, in a valiant last-stage charge.
  • …Mikkelsen/Jæger took fourth.
  • …And, Østberg/Fløene took fifth.
  • …With Neuville/Gilsoul, Tänak/Mõlder, local representatives Ligato/Garcia (in car 81, the lone Citroën DS3 WRC), Bertelli/Scattolin, and Camilli/Veillas rounding out the top 10.
  • …And, Solberg/Minor just missing out (in 11th).
  • Overall…
  • …Again, Paddon/Kennard scored their first WRC win.
  • …In a last-minute frenzy that paid off, expanding their lead to 14.3.
  • …After a rough rally of stage cleaning, Ogier/Ingrassia took second.
  • …And, those really, really, ridiculously good looking Norwegians, Mikkelsen/Jæger were displayed on the final podium step.
  • …Sordo/Martí and Østberg/Fløene completed a ferocious top five.
  • …While Neuville/Gilsoul, Ligato/Garcia, Camilli/Veillas, and Solberg/Minor completed the WRC top nine.
  • …With the WRC2’s Fuchs/Mussano taking 10th.
  • …Bertelli/Scattolin took 13th, while Tänak/Mõlder took 15th, in absolutely solid runs in a make and model that has just seen better weekends (that’s all, troubles noted, zero to worry about).
  • …And, word has it that the Finns (eventually) finished.
  • …I’m seeing 16th.
  • …But, what a run that was, eh?
  • …Up to the whole flying off the face of the earth, getting sad, getting angry, going off on the fragility of the car stuff.
  • …Aaahhh, good ol’ Jerry Matt.
  • …No word on how long the yelling went on, or whether (or, not) Kif punched the Jer-Bear.
  • …So, let’s just assume that he did.
  • …Why?
  • …Because, why not?
  • Right…
  • …Next up…
  • …The infamous Rally Portugal.
  • …Which kicks off May 19th.
  • …And, is (always) an interesting time.
  • …Jer-Bear and Kif are the 2015 winner.
  • …So, they’ll have to get their shit together, if they want to defend that.
  • …Find that happy medium between overly positive and, you know, behavior we revisited this weekend.
  • …Get that car ready, VW.
  • …The game has just called.
  • …And, yes, they’ve just confirmed, “upped”.
  • See you in…oh…just short of a month.
  • …Ah, WRC.
  • LET’S GO CRAZY!!!
  • LET’S GET NUTS!!!
  • …LET’S GO!!!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF CHINA (15.4.2016 – 17.4.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good whatever!
  • It’s 1am in my part of the world.
  • But, more importantly…
  • It’s F1 time in Shanghai.
  • Yep.
  • It’s time for the 2016 Formula 1 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix.
  • Shanghai International Circuit…
  • …Shaped like a boxing bunny.
  • …5.451km (3.387mi) in length.
  • …16 turns.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …With 56 laps scheduled for today.
  • …Bringing the total distance goal to 305.066km (189.559mi).
  • Here we go!
  • Ricciardo takes the lead!!!
  • Contact!
  • …Kvyat and a Ferrari!!!
  • …The Ferrari’s hit each other!!!
  • …If you’re looking to define “disastrous start”…
  • …Look no further than  Ferrari!
  • …And, for those of us, wondering what trouble Ferrari would find themselves in today…
  • …Yep…
  • …Red is lucky in China…
  • …But not so much in this case.
  • Hamilton comes away from that first turn with front wing damage.
  • …Because, sure, why not?
  • …Join the party.
  • There’s just a lot happening here.
  • And, now, a lot of emergency pitting.
  • Ricciardo loses a tire!!!
  • …Ricciardo’s rear-left has just split and flown off!!!
  • Dear, god; who’s left?!
  • At Lap 7…
  • …Under a Safety Car…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Massa, Alonso, and Wehrlein in the lead.
  • …Yep.
  • …The Manor, that started from Row 11.
  • …After that Q1 off.
  • …Want the rest?
  • …Gutierrez, Kvyat, Palmer, Haryanto, Perez, and Bottas complete the top 10.
  • …With Button, Sainz, Hülkenberg, Ericsson, Vettel, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Räikkönen, Grosjean, Hamilton, and Nasr completing the conga line.
  • Oh, hey, if you thought that the pitlane was immune from all the crashing…
  • …Nope.
  • …It looks like both Toro Rosso cars had near-misses.
  • …With Button joining in the fun.
  • Race on!
  • By the way…
  • …On replay…
  • …It doesn’t appear that Kvyat did anything at all.
  • …He just seemed to take Vettel off guard.
  • …Vettel, then slammed into Kimi.
  • …Further back, Nasr and Hamilton bumped…
  • …When Nasr tried to avoid a reentering Kimi…
  • …At the same time that Hamilton tried to avoid debris.
  • …And, in the middle…
  • …Ericsson and Grosjean touched in what looked like a pretty innocent racing incident.
  • …They just got too close in that T1 squeeze.
  • At Lap 12…
  • …It’s Rosberg on top…
  • …With Massa, Kvyat, and Alonso racing for the podium.
  • …Vettel has worked his way up to sixth.
  • …With Perez defending fifth with everything he’s got.
  • But, ultimately, a Force India’s everything is no match for Vettel’s Ferrari.
  • Kvyat passes Massa for second.
  • Vettel has just passed Alonso (for fourth).
  • …Remember when Vettel went from pitlane to podium at Abu Dhabi 2012?
  • …It -was- 2012?wasn’t it?
  • …The year of Kimi’s radio magic?
  • …Bygones.
  • …It happened.
  • …Vettel is a guy who can do this.
  • …And, do it with ease.
  • Perez passes Alonso (for fifth).
  • …Alonso did -not- take a pit stop through all that madness.
  • …So, no need to be alarmed.
  • …Yep, now, he’s going in for a stop.
  • By the way, there was contact between Bottas and Vettel a bit earlier.
  • …Because, of course there was.
  • …So very many bad touches today.
  • Another guy who isn’t too worried about a rear start is Hamilton.
  • …Who is up to eighth.
  • …After all that.
  • If I could pick one concern…
  • …It would be Kimi.
  • …He was up to 15th.
  • …But, has dropped…
  • …Yes, dropped…
  • …To 19th.
  • Alonso reenters in 16th.
  • …Okay, well, that sucks.
  • …But, let’s see what he can do.
  • Kvyat and Massa (both) pit.
  • Kvyat reenters ahead of Vettel.
  • …Race…
  • …On.
  • …Kvyat is defending, and defending hard.
  • …However…
  • …He’s got Hamilton ahead of him.
  • …Yes, Hamilton.
  • …With Bottas running in second.
  • Rosberg pits.
  • …It’s good.
  • …He maintains the lead.
  • Hülkenberg is under investigation…
  • …For driving unnecessarily slowly in pitlane entry.
  • …Well…
  • …You don’t see that every day.
  • …In a quick decision, he’s slapped with a five-second penalty.
  • …Mr Incredible is up to two penalties this weekend.
  • …He’s this weekend’s naughty boy.
  • …Or, a patsy for Force India’s boo-boos.
  • At Lap 24…
  • …Rosberg (still) leads…
  • …With Kvyat, Vettel, and Button shooting for the podium.
  • …Perez completes the top five…
  • …With Massa, Bottas, Ricciardo, Sainz, and…
  • …Well, hello, Kimi…
  • …Holding points positions.
  • …Kimi gets pissy and Nordic-y bummed.
  • …But, when he wakes up, he really goes.
  • Mr Incredible radios his team…
  • …”I think we should consider an alternative strategy guys…”
  • …Receiving the response…
  • …”We’re on it.”
  • …Yeah, I’m not sure anyone is actually -on- a strategy at this point.
  • …Just, uh, go, and try not to make any more contact?
  • Button is dropping…
  • …And, not fighting to defend…
  • …Which entails a pit stop coming up.
  • It’s worth noting that not one car has retired…
  • …Thus far.
  • …Knock on wood.
  • Button (finally) stops.
  • As do Perez and Ericsson.
  • At Lap 30…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Kvyat, Vettel, Massa, and Bottas on top.
  • …With Ricciardo, Sainz, Räikkönen, Hamilton, and Verstappen completing the top ten.
  • …With everything changing with every look at the standings.
  • …With a little less than half the race remaining…
  • …There’s (still) a lot of time for more craziness.
  • …And, you know, good racing.
  • …That, too.
  • If you’re wondering where Haas is…
  • …Well…
  • …Everyone knew there would be days like this in their first year.
  • …Currently, Gutierrez is running in 12th…
  • …To complete his disastrous weekend…
  • …While Grosjean hasn’t been able to recover from that early wing damage…
  • …Running in 18th.
  • …But, actually, it’s not bad, given how their weekend has been going.
  • …And, still, pretty amazing for it being (only) their third race.
  • …Ever.
  • …They’re not worried.
  • …These things happen to every team, all the time.
  • …No matter how successful, or how established.
  • …It’s all good.
  • …Happy 30th birthday, Romain.
  • …Yes, only 30.
  • …He’s just getting started.
  • Kvyat and Vettel pit.
  • …From second and third, respectively.
  • …The reenter in the order they entered…
  • …But, behind Rosberg and…
  • …Ricciardo.
  • …And, just ahead of…
  • …Kimi.
  • …It’s come full-circle, kids.
  • …I just don’t know what to say.
  • …Other than that, anyone poo-poo-ing F1 as ‘boring’ needs their head checked.
  • …Seriously.
  • …As a psych nerd, and F1 fan, I’m very fascinated by the psychology of those bored by this.
  • Vettel overtakes Kvyat.
  • …He is (now) in a former-team sammich.
  • Kimi pits.
  • …You can see some fragments of strategy, now.
  • …In-team position guarding.
  • …In more successful ways than Force India’s slow ride.
  • …They gang up, then send the lead car in.
  • …Pretty simple.
  • …In theory.
  • …And, usually, in practice.
  • At Lap 40…
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, Kvyat, Massa, and Bottas lead.
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez, Kimi, and Button complete the top ten.
  • Hamilton passes Bottas.
  • Ricciardo passes Bottas.
  • Ricciardo wants Hamilton.
  • Kimi passes Perez.
  • Sainz passes Button.
  • Ricciardo passes Hamilton!!!
  • …The Red Bull on the reigning World Champion Mercedes.
  • Ricciardo passes Massa (for fourth)!
  • …Red Bull is (now) in third and fourth.
  • Kimi passes Bottas.
  • …Cleanly.
  • …None of that…
  • …What they’ve been known to do.
  • Hamilton is (now) in a pretty miserable spot.
  • …Massa is not going to make his life easy.
  • …As Kimi fills his mirrors.
  • Kimi passes Hamilton.
  • …Close, but no contact.
  • …Because, that would be bad.
  • …Let’s avoid that, kids.
  • Button has just set the fastest lap.
  • …Yes, Button.
  • …In the McHonda.
  • As I’ve said…
  • …There’s just no set order this season (thus far).
  • …Everyone has a shot.
  • …We are witnessing something truly incredible.
  • …Every race is everyone’s game.
  • Grosjean sets fastest lap.
  • …I mean, as I was saying…
  • Kimi has passed Massa, by the way.
  • …For fifth.
  • …Both Ferraris are running.
  • …Even after colliding at that first turn.
  • …And, dropping all the way down the grid.
  • …They are not only running…
  • …A first this season…
  • …They are (both) in the top five.
  • Hülkenberg sets fastest lap.
  • …In case you were finding yourself (almost) able to even.
  • …It’s okay, if you can’t.
  • …Accept the insanity.
  • …Feel the insanity.
  • …Embrace the insanity.
  • At Lap 53…
  • …Rosberg, Vettel, and Kvyat are in podium position.
  • …With Ricciardo and Räikkönen rounding out the top five.
  • …And, Massa, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, and Sainz in the points.
  • …But, it’s not over.
  • …A lot can happen in a sport of micro seconds.
  • Verstappen passes Bottas.
  • …With Sainz coming up on the Finn, fast.
  • Final lap.
  • Checkered flag…
  • …Rosberg takes it!
  • …His sixth consecutive win!
  • …Vettel takes second!
  • …Back from disaster!
  • …Kvyat, third!
  • …Yes, Kvyat, third!
  • …Ricciardo and Räikkönen bounce back to complete the top five.
  • …Because, they can.
  • …Massa, Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz, and Bottas complete a very hard-earned top ten.
  • …With Perez, Alonso, Button, Gutierrez, Hülkenberg, Ericsson, Magnussen, Wehrlein, Grosjean, Nasr, Haryanto, and Palmer rounding out the grid.
  • …Yes, 22 of 22 cars finished.
  • …Against all odds, given that crazy start.
  • …And, for the first time this season, Gutierrez’s car has made it to the end.
  • …Yes, the magical start for Haas ran out of glitter.
  • …But, to have both cars finish, and finish pretty honorably…
  • …With that fastest lap and all…
  • …They can consider that another win.
  • …The same goes for McHonda.
  • …This is exactly why I (always) say that numbers never lie, because they never tell the whole story.
  • …Just look at that rotation (today).
  • …Wehrlein was in the top five.
  • …Alonso was in podium position.
  • Ooo…
  • …Drama in the holding tank.
  • …Vettel is (absolutely) blowing up on Kvyat.
  • …And, Kvyat and Rosberg know it.
  • …Rosberg just hangs back, smiling, staying out of it.
  • …Kvyat’s holding his ground, trying to diffuse it, reminding Vettel that they’re (both) on the podium, it’s all good…
  • …But, Vettel’s not having it.
  • …But, I mean, really, Kvyat didn’t do anything wrong.
  • …It was close, but that first turn (always) is.
  • …Vettel’s just pissed at himself and feeling bad for nailing his teammate.
  • …He’ll calm down.
  • Podium time.
  • …That may be the most violent champagne spraying I’ve ever seen.
  • …Vettel and Kvyat.
  • …Right in each other’s faces.
  • …As Rosberg stays back.
  • …Vettel appears to have downgraded to ‘annoyed’.
  • …Rosberg’s face, listening to the other two, answering questions about their start, is pretty priceless.
  • …I mean, it’s got to be nice for him, not being in the middle of that kind of stuff.
  • …Given his podium history with Hamilton.
  • …Kvyat seems determined to make sure Vettel doesn’t come away angry.
  • …They’re talking, it’s improving.
  • …Vettel’s not a dick, he’s just pissed, and everyone knows it.
  • …So, major points to Kvyat, not just for racing, but for sportsmanship.
  • …When asked about his damaged front wing (from the Bottas ding), Vettel is taken by surprise.
  • …He claims to not have noticed.
  • …So, basically, he was just being propelled up the grid by fury.
  • …But, it’s (all) over.
  • …What’s done is done.
  • …And, quite honestly, it was such a spectacular race…
  • …Such big disasters…
  • …With even bigger comebacks.
  • …And, just a grid-ful of amazing drives.
  • …People can only do so much, when absolutely everyone is just on it.
  • …It all comes down to relative performances, being in the exact right place at the exact right time, and just letting the chips fall where they may.
  • …No one should come away from that, feeling less than awesome.
  • …Even Vettel, who is (clearly) struggling with himself.
  • …I mean, it was pretty clear what happened.
  • …In fact, everything that happened today came down to simple, honest, (virtually) unavoidable racing incidents.
  • …Everyone should focus on how well they recovered.
  • …There was not one retirement.
  • …There wasn’t even heavy limping around the track.
  • …Even when Riccardo’s tire flew away, he kept a decent pace all the way to the pits.
  • …And, toward the end of the race, Grosjean radioed that the car was ‘un-drivable’ this weekend.
  • …If that was the Haas in shit mode…
  • …As all cars have…
  • …Then, Haas can come away from this, feeling pretty rad.
  • …Not to mention, they’re (still) in Constructors’ fifth.
  • …Just a truly spectacular race.
  • …Up and down the grid.
  • …Everyone rocked it.
  • Well, that’s that.
  • Next up…
  • Following Kvyat’s sneaky, little podium, F1 is heading to the motherland.
  • …Mother Russia.
  • …Practice 1 kicks off April 29th…
  • …With the race, speeding by Putin Land, on May 1st.
  • …Oh, my god, I love Russia.
  • …I think they should screw Qualifying, and just do it, nesting doll style.
  • …By driver height.
  • …I don’t care if they give pole to Massa or Hülkenberg.
  • …It’s all good.
  • …So, yeah.
  • …There’s your festive start.
  • …Boom.
  • And, with that, I’m calling it a night.
  • Sweet dreams, weirdos!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF CHINA (15.4.2016 – 17.4.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Good…morning?
  • …Evening?
  • Whatever.
  • We can just leave it at “good”.
  • Why?
  • Well…
  • …Because…
  • …It’s time for the Chinese Grand Prix.
  • Yes!
  • …This is Qualifying.
  • …It is on NBCSN (in the US).
  • …And, Q1 is off and running.
  • As Manor’s Wehrlein slides off track.
  • Aaannnddd, we have a Red Flag.
  • You know…
  • …Before I get started on the track details…
  • …I should mention that it has been absolutely pouring in Shanghai all day.
  • …And, while there may be a break in the showers…
  • …The track is drenched.
  • …It has (officially) been declared ‘wet’.
  • …And, I would say, Wehrlein’s slingshot…
  • …After hitting standing water at full speed…
  • …Would back that up.
  • …So, just for the record…
  • …It is 72F.
  • …With 15-ish mph winds.
  • …And, overcast.
  • …So, track conditions are moist.
  • Anyhoo…
  • …Shanghai International Circuit…
  • …5.451km (3.387mi) in length.
  • …Shaped like a boxing bunny.
  • …With 16 turns.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …On race day, 56 laps are scheduled.
  • …Which will bring the goal distance total to 305.066km (189.559mi).
  • …Wording which denotes the possibility of early retirement from action.
  • …Because, well, this is F1.
  • …A lot of shit can happen in a sport measured in fractions of seconds.
  • In 2015…
  • …It was Mercedes’ Hamilton who took the win.
  • …With his teammate, Rosberg, taking second.
  • …And, Ferrari’s Vettel on the final step of the podium.
  • …With -his- teammate, Räikkönen, just missing the fun (in fourth).
  • Currently…
  • …We are in Q1.
  • …The first of three knockout sessions.
  • …Running 18 minutes.
  • …With the clock stopped at 14:38 minutes remaining.
  • …And, no one having set a time.
  • Just a reminder…
  • …After the first two rounds saw major backlash for the new Qualifying format…
  • …They have reverted to the previous incarnation from this race, on.
  • …I, for one, stand by the idea of periodic elimination.
  • …No, theory didn’t play out so well in practice.
  • …But, I (still) think that idea should be revisited.
  • …I like the idea of that incentive to participate.
  • …However, the way it was implemented, with limited tires…
  • …Which had to be reused during the race…
  • …Pretty much cancelled out the strategic holdbacks that elimination could have prevented.
  • …The solution?
  • …Do away with the stupid tire restrictions.
  • …And, implement time penalties for dicking around in the garage.
  • …Or, something along those lines.
  • …I’m not paid to solve these problems.
  • …Anyway, Qualifying is back to how it was the past few years.
  • Okay, race: on.
  • …With 11:30 remaining.
  • Haas’ Gutierrez is the first to set a time.
  • …Yes, a time has been set.
  • …And, he’s (promptly) bumped (down) by McLaren’s Button.
  • …McLaren’s Alonso comes in between the two.
  • Haas’ Grosjean slips into third.
  • And, so on.
  • Times are being set steadily (now).
  • …With the lead teams dicking around in their garages.
  • …See?
  • …That’s the shitty shit I’d like to see eliminated by elimination.
  • Some radio transmissions regarding a circuit vehicle, parked just off track.
  • …With warnings that, if anyone goes off (there), there will be a nasty collision.
  • …And, sure enough, there’s a truck, right there.
  • …Cars, flying past.
  • …Cars that have been sliding off all day.
  • …Yeah, just saying.
  • How nice of the usual suspects to join the action!
  • Oh!
  • …NBCSN is reporting that Mercedes have confirmed that Hamilton’s car has ERS issues.
  • …They are working on it (in the garage).
  • …With two minutes remaining.
  • …Hamilton (already) has a five-place grid penalty going against him.
  • …(For a gearbox change.)
  • …Yeah, he’s done.
  • …Out of the car, waving to fans, and (I would assume) already plotting some sort of plan of action (for tomorrow).
  • Checkered flag.
  • Flying laps will count.
  • Ferrari’s Vettel, Ferrari’s Räikkönen, Williams’ Bottas, McLaren’s Button, Toro Rosso’s Sainz, Mercedes’ Rosberg, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, Red Bull’s Kvyat, Williams’ Massa, Force India’s Perez, Force India’s Hülkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Verstappen, Sauber’s Ericsson, Haas’ Grosjean, McLaren’s Alonso, and Sauber’s Nasr continue.
  • With Renault’s Magnussen, Haas’ Gutierrez, Renault’s Palmer, Manor’s Haryanto, Manor’s Wehrlein, and Mercedes’ Hamilton out.
  • Onto Q2…
  • …15 minutes.
  • …16 cars remain.
  • …And, again, the bottom six cars (at the end of this session) will be eliminated.
  • …As the clouds remain threatening.
  • …With those threats maintaining a substantial warm wind of emptiness.
  • …For now.
  • …Wasn’t that just artful, by the way?
  • …I can bring it down by tossing out some innuendo, regarding those nasty wet patches on track.
  • …If you’d like.
  • You know…
  • …the Chinese consider red to be a lucky color.
  • …Yet, Ferrari hasn’t won the Chinese Grand Prix since Alonso’s 2013 win.
  • …Prior to that, it was Kimi who gave them a win in 2007.
  • …And, (Michael) Schumacher in 2006.
  • …Can they topple Rosberg’s streak?
  • The front-left tire of The Incredible Hülkenberg has just sped ahead, without him.
  • …Mr Incredible parks.
  • …As a Red Flag is called.
  • With 1:17 remaining.
  • Race Control has declared the session over.
  • So, after Q2, it’s…
  • …Kimi, Vettel, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Bottas, Kvyat, Perez, Sainz, Verstappen, and Mr Incredible moving onto Q3
  • …Under the circumstances, Hülkenberg’s place is solidified.
  • …Out are: Massa, Alonso, Button, Grosjean, Ericsson, and Nasr.
  • Q3…
  • …12 minutes.
  • …9 cars remain.
  • …The end result of this session will make up Sunday’s starting grid.
  • I was about to note that the track was looking quite dry.
  • …Then, Perez hit one of those wet spots and had a micro moment.
  • …And, Kvyat does a bit of yard work.
  • …Both were able to make drama-free saves.
  • …Anyway, so, yeah, it’s (still) not (completely) dry.
  • Everyone pits.
  • No pressure.
  • …Said with one eye bugging out more than the other.
  • …Bulging with the panting.
  • So many Finnish flags.
  • …They’re just so exotic.
  • …If you missed the drivers’ pre-event press conference…
  • …It was Kimi, Bottas, Magnussen, Ericsson, and Mr Incredible.
  • …My brain exploded.
  • …I’m sure a lot of brains exploded.
  • Thirty seconds remain.
  • Here we go.
  • Flying laps will count.
  • Pole for Rosberg.
  • Ricciardo comes out of the shadows for a surprise second.
  • …It’s safe to assume that the honey badger was hungry and needed a snack.
  • Ferrari fucks up another critical move.
  • …With Kimi taking third, and Vettel taking fourth.
  • Bottas takes fifth.
  • With Kvyat, Perez, Sainz, Verstappen, and Hülkenberg completing the top ten.
  • So, you’re (provisional) grid should look something like this…
  • …Rosberg / Ricciardo
  • …Räikkönen / Vettel
  • …Bottas / Kvyat
  • …Perez / Sainz
  • …Verstappen / Hülkenberg
  • …Massa / Alonso
  • …Button / Grosjean
  • …Ericsson / Nasr
  • …Magnussen / Gutierrez
  • …Palmer / Haryanto
  • …Wehrlein / Hamilton
  • …Give or take any adjustments made for penalties that may pop up.
  • So…
  • …Predictions for tomorrow?
  • …Oh, you know I don’t do that.
  • …However…
  • …Watch for another dynamic start for Ferrari.
  • …Mercedes has had trouble off the line.
  • …And, Red Bull is Red Bull, and all the challenges that entails.
  • …But, I have no idea where it will all go.
  • …From front to back.
  • …I have no idea.
  • …For better and worse, these teams are so evenly matched at this point…
  • …It’s ridiculous.
  • …Everyone is everywhere.
  • …Just when you think someone is lagging, they fly ahead and mingle with the top.
  • …Right now, there’s no midfield or back.
  • …Its all “Gilligan’s Island”.
  • …If you remember your “Gilligan’s Island”, you may recall that, for a while, The Professor and Mary-Ann were listed (in the theme song) as, “…and the rest”.
  • …It’s all a bunch of “and the rest”.
  • …Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a shot at points.
  • …Performance is all relative.
  • …Coming down to incremental “better” and “worse”.
  • …Likewise, at the very top.
  • …It’s whoever slips up more v. less.
  • …Who maximizes opportunities.
  • …Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
  • …Anyone complaining about a lack of excitement or interest in this season should (probably…definitely) just shut up and leave.
  • …And, maybe…certainly, get their head checked by a professional.
  • That said…
  • …I would highly recommend tuning in for the race.
  • …Which will be aired in the US at 12:30am (CT).
  • …On NBCSN.
  • …Do it.
  • …It’s going to be awesome.
  • …Just think of all the drivers who got caught up in that Q2 Red Flag, alone.
  • …Not to mention, the reigning World Champion, starting from the back.
  • …That’s a lot of vengeance and redemption.
  • …A lot of Frogger.
  • …All the way, up and down the grid.
  • …Sold (yet)?
  • …Well, you can lead a horse to water.
  • And, on that note…
  • …Goodnight!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF BAHRAIN (1.4.2016 – 3.4.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning!
  • Now, how about a good night?
  • Strange comment?
  • Nah.
  • It’s just time for the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix!
  • Sing it!…
  • …When the lights go down…
  • …In a Middle Eastern town…
  • And, it’s (all) going down (Stateside) on NBCSN.
  • Okay, let’s get to the basics…
  • …The track…
  • …Bahrain International Circuit.
  • …In Sakhir.
  • …Shaped like a cartoon duck, flexing.
  • …5.412km (3.363mi) in length.
  • …15 turns.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …With 57 laps scheduled (today).
  • …Which will bring the total distance goal to 308.238km (191.530mi).
  • …And, if you’re new to this, I use “scheduled” and “goal” because…
  • …Well…
  • …This is F1.
  • …A sport decided in fractions of a second.
  • …So, a lot can happen in two-ish hours.
  • In 2015…
  • …It was Mercedes’ Hamilton who took the win.
  • …Giving him two wins at this circuit.
  • …Which is significant, as McLaren’s Alonso holds the record, with three.
  • …And, three drivers (Hamilton, Ferrari’s Vettel, and Williams’ Massa) going into today with two wins at Bahrain, with solid grid placement.
  • …Hamilton was joined on the 2015 podium by Ferrari’s Räikkönen (in second) and Mercedes’ Rosberg (in third).
  • …With Williams’ Bottas and Red Bull’s Kvyat rounding out the top five.
  • As for today’s starting grid…
  • …It looks something like this…
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton and Rosberg
  • …Ferrari’s Vettel and Räikkönen
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo and Williams’ Bottas
  • …Williams’ Massa and Force India’s Hülkenberg
  • …Haas’ Grosjean and Toro Rosso’s Verstappen
  • …Toro Rosso’s Sainz and McHonda’s Vandoorne
  • …Haas’ Gutierrez and McHonda’s Button
  • …Red Bull’s Kvyat and Manor’s Wehrlein
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson and Force India’s Perez
  • …Renault’s Palmer and Manor’s Haryanto
  • …Sauber’s Nasr
  • …And, Renault’s Magnussen will be starting from pitlane
  • …His punishment for failing to stop for a weigh-in red light during P2.
  • …It’s worth noting that Hamilton reversed in pitlane after Qualifying…
  • …A very well-known illegal maneuver.
  • …And, got off with a light slap on the wrist.
  • …As usual.
  • …You heard me.
  • …Someone, somewhere must be keeping track of these unpunished infractions.
  • Okay…
  • …Oh, no…
  • …Vettel is out in the formation lap.
  • …There were sparks, there was a cloud…
  • …There was a call, “I think I might have engine failure.”…
  • …There was a huge cloud…
  • …And, Vettel was in it.
  • …But, it looks like he’s headed to the pits.
  • …So, the start should go as scheduled.
  • Here we go!
  • Let’s work on those night moves!
  • Slow start for Hamilton!
  • …Again!
  • Bottas hits Hamilton!!!
  • …Williams is flying!!!
  • That Mercedes is sparking down the track.
  • …As Hamilton is radioing with rear issues.
  • …Butt hurt?
  • …Just kidding.
  • …(50% rule.)
  • Um…
  • …Everyone is everywhere.
  • …There’s contact left and right.
  • …Was that a giant piece of bodywork, or is someone midget bowling.
  • …Which is wrong…
  • By the way…
  • …Palmer joined Vettel in the DNS club.
  • If you want a good laugh, watch the replay of the Bottas/Hamilton collision from Bottas’ onboard.
  • …Bottas doesn’t care.
  • …Hamilton was just an obnoxious obstacle at that point.
  • …Get out of my way.
  • …Oh, that was great.
  • …Even better, when you think of what that Finnish face, with those Nordic eyes, was doing inside that helmet.
  • It looks like Ricciardo took a hit in those shenanigans, also.
  • …With Hamilton being the only one limping away.
  • Perez and Sainz (also) collided.
  • …And that was that flying debris questioned earlier.
  • Right, after all that…
  • …At Lap 7…
  • …Yes, only…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Massa, Räikkönen, and Bottas.
  • Oh!
  • …Button is out!
  • …As the cameras go to a devastated Alonso.
  • …He’s Spanish.
  • …He feels his feelings when he feels them.
  • …So, the lone McHonda (still) racing is…
  • …Vandoorne.
  • …In his debut…
  • …In this car…
  • …After flying in at the very last minute…
  • …From Japan.
  • …You have to cheer for that, don’t you?
  • Bottas pits.
  • Grosjean hits debris left by Hamilton.
  • Drive-through penalty for Bottas.
  • …Because, no joke, the stewards are absofuckinglutely blind at this point.
  • …I mean, really.
  • Sainz radios that he’s having trouble turning right.
  • …Like Zoolander…
  • …But, the opposite.
  • …Mer-MAN!
  • Haas pulls Gutierrez in.
  • …So, two DNFs for Haas #21.
  • …No worries.
  • …New car, new team, a driver that can handle it.
  • Grosjean pits…
  • …Haas’ first pit stop ever…
  • …Because, if you’ll recall, the red flag served as a lot of pit stops at Australia.
  • …It’s good!
  • Vandoorne takes a hit, speeds on, passes not one, but two Force Indias.
  • …Hülkenberg and Perez, respectively.
  • There’s just a-lot-a-lot-a going on!
  • At lap 15…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Räikkönen, Ricciardo, and Hamilton in the lead.
  • I should mention that…
  • …In case you missed it…
  • …At yesterday’s post-Qualifying press conference, Rosberg declared…
  • …Loud and proud…
  • …That Pole Position doesn’t (really) matter at Bahrain.
  • …To which Hamilton responded with a fully alert face, turning to Vettel…
  • …Whose comic brain had to have been exploding, as he just kept looking ahead.
  • Grosjean is all over Massa.
  • …I repeat…
  • …The Haas of Grosjean is all over the Williams of Massa.
  • …He did it!!!
  • …Grosjean takes fifth.
  • …Not long after setting fastest lap.
  • …I know.
  • …We are witnessing craziness, folks.
  • And, all the while, the Saubers have (quietly) launched themselves up to 10th (Nasr) and 11th (Ericsson).
  • …With 18 (of 22) cars (still) racing.
  • At Lap 19…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Räikkönen, Hamilton, and Ricciardo on top.
  • …With four retirements…
  • …Palmer (DNS), Vettel (DNS), Button (DNF), and Gutierrez (DNF).
  • Kvyat has moseyed his way on up the standings.
  • …Overtaking both Saubers for 10th.
  • Vandoorne is in eighth, by the way.
  • …Because, welcome to the crazy train.
  • Oh, that’s not good.
  • …Sainz stops.
  • …And, there’s a mean tilt.
  • …The NBCSN crew is reporting a rear jack issue.
  • …Which wasn’t picked up on the presented camera angle.
  • Grosjean overtakes Ricciardo for fourth!
  • …This is not a drill.
  • …In Haas F1’s second race ever.
  • …Car #8 is in fourth.
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • …Which, I suspect he needed, after being passed by Grosjean.
  • …Which moves the field up.
  • …Meaning, Vandoorne is in seventh.
  • 3.0 pit stop for Vandoorne.
  • …It’s as much for this guy as on this guy at this point.
  • Verstappen pits.
  • …From fifth.
  • …Don’t screw it up.
  • …Remember what happened at Australia.
  • …Teen rage.
  • …It’s good.
  • Grosjean pits.
  • …A little slower than that first one.
  • …But, good.
  • Hamilton pits.
  • Kimi pits.
  • No drama in those pits.
  • In and out without any position changes.
  • 2.2 stop for Massa.
  • …Yes, a speedy stop for Williams.
  • A 5.3 stop for Rosberg.
  • …Crappy…
  • …But, not enough to dethrone him.
  • Both Red Bulls have blown ahead of Grosjean.
  • …Ricciardo ahead of Kvyat.
  • …Putting the remaining Haas in sixth.
  • …Where he finished in Australia.
  • Sainz (finally) retires.
  • …The car just hadn’t been working.
  • …And, you can’t say they didn’t give it a real go.
  • Yep, that was a Haas, overtaking a Red Bull.
  • …As Grosjean pulls ahead of Kvyat.
  • And, Verstappen toodles around Kvyat (as well).
  • What’s this sammich?
  • …Looks delicious.
  • …Ah, it’s Bottas – Vandoorne – Massa.
  • …Yum.
  • …Spicy.
  • Kvyat and Bottas pit.
  • …As I make armpit fart sounds in my head.
  • Kimi stops.
  • …It’s fine.
  • …But, he comes out behind Hamilton.
  • At Lap 39…
  • …Rosberg leads, with Hamilton, Räikkönen, Ricciardo, and Grosjean rounding out the top five.
  • Rosberg pits.
  • …3.6.
  • …And, he comes out behind his teammate.
  • …Because, of course he does.
  • Magnussen pits.
  • …With points on the line.
  • …Rejoins in 14th.
  • …Wah-wah-waaahhh.
  • Grosjean pits.
  • …From fifth.
  • …8.1.
  • …Ouch.
  • …But, he rejoins in eighth.
  • …Hey, that’s (still) okay.
  • …We’ll see if what he can do with that.
  • Hamilton pits.
  • …From the lead.
  • …Rejoins in third.
  • …And, there was much rejoicing.
  • …Oh, you know it’s true.
  • Ricciardo pits.
  • …3.0.
  • …In and out in fifth.
  • Ferrari has given Kimi the go-ahead to really push.
  • Kvyat pits.
  • …He returns in ninth.
  • …Moving Bottas up to eighth.
  • …And, Grosjean, to seventh.
  • Meanwhile…
  • …There’s a back-and-forth battle for tenth.
  • …Between Vandoorne and Ericsson.
  • Grosjean passes Massa for sixth.
  • As Ricciardo battles Verstappen for fourth.
  • Verstappen pits.
  • Grosjean moves up to fifth, Massa to sixth, and so on.
  • …As Verstappen slips back in seventh.
  • Haas radio transmission…
  • …”Awesome!  Just awesome!”
  • …Fuck yeah.
  • Here comes Magnussen on Ericsson.
  • …Denmark on Sweden.
  • …Surprise, surprise.
  • …He keeps losing him around the corners.
  • …Either way you interpret that, it works, and leads to the same scenario.
  • …Have you ever heard of that thing where Swedes have to pretend to be Norwegian, so that Danes will serve them (at bars)?
  • …Is this some weird revenge?
  • …If so, it wasn’t very effective.
  • …As Magnussen (eventually) passes.
  • So, now, it’s Magnussen on Vandoorne.
  • …For tenth.
  • …After Vandoorne was announced as a participant, Magnussen was one of the first to state that the Belgian wouldn’t have any trouble holding his own this weekend.
  • …And, here they are.
  • Bottas and Kvyat go wheel to wheel.
  • …Oh, literally.
  • …That looked like a bad touch.
  • …Anyway, Kvyat wins.
  • …And, over at Williams, Frank Williams laughs in enjoyment anyway.
  • …He loves his spunky racers.
  • Manor rookie Wehrlein on Ericsson.
  • …For 12th.
  • …Can he?
  • …Ericsson, despite his underachieving machinery, does not make it easy for people.
  • …With those Nordic eyes in that helmet and all.
  • …Remember last year, when Bernie went off on Manor, saying letting them participate was a mistake, blah, blah, blah?
  • …And, other teams, fans, and I were like, shut up and watch?
  • …This is why.
  • …Come on, everybody, sing GNR’s  “Patience”!
  • Last lap…
  • Rosberg wins #2 of two in 2016.
  • …His first win at Bahrain.
  • …Kimi bounces back from a flaming DNF (at Australia), to a scorching second (at Bahrain).
  • …Pole winner Hamilton takes third.
  • …Ricciardo takes fourth (again).
  • …And, improving upon their sixth-place debut, Grosjean takes Haas to fifth.
  • …Completing the top ten was Verstappen, Kvyat, Massa, Bottas, and…
  • …Stoffel Vandoorne.
  • …The emergency seat-filler.
  • …Bringing home the first point of 2016 for McHonda.
  • …Magnussen takes 11th (after a pitlane start), followed by Ericsson, Wehrlein, Nasr, Hülkenberg, Perez, and Haryanto (who retired from Australia, making this his first F1 finish).
  • …Button, Gutierrez, and Sainz failed to finish.
  • …And, Palmer and Vettel failed to start.
  • Ever notice that Kimi tends to get the champagne-free podiums?
  • …I mean, sure, numbers and odds and all.
  • …But, still, is this one of the grand conspiracies of the world?
  • …Yep…
  • …Chug…
  • …Oh, stop quickly…
  • …Spray the crowd.
  • …In his blinding white, team-centric, run-on sentence, glory.
  • Rosberg congratulates Bahrain, for throwing such a fantastic event.
  • …Agreed.
  • …It’s (always) a great race, with unbeatable scenery.
  • …There’s been debate over adding another Middle Eastern round.
  • …And, honestly, is there anyone who wouldn’t love it, with zero love lost for the existing two?
  • …They’re really and truly amazing.
  • …I can safely say that there is nothing to worry about.
  • Also safe?
  • …Alonso’s Bahrain win record.
  • …So, hopefully, he’ll be back to defend it next year.
  • …In a car whose development is absolutely moving forward.
  • Speaking of moving forward…
  • …Haas.
  • …”This is the American dream!!!”
  • …Shouted Grosjean, over the radio, as he crossed the line in fifth.
  • …The car is awesome, the team is awesome…
  • …Grosjean is in a career-highest fifth…
  • …Haas is starting life in fifth…
  • …For all the shit that goes down in America…
  • …We’ve got this bit of magic and possibility.
  • …So, Grosjean may have had something in that bold statement.
  • …And, as for Gutierrez?
  • …Oh, he’ll get there.
  • …He knew what he was signing up for, he’s prepared, the guy can drive, and he feels good about the car.
  • …So, give it more than two races.
  • …It’ll come together soon enough.
  • …The junior-senior driver order (that all teams have) is going as planned for.
  • …Man, I can’t wait to see Gutierrez at COTA.
  • …Remember a few years back, when Gutierrez and Perez, both so unassuming, on their home (enough, definitely North American) turf, went absolutely apeshit on COTA?
  • …If Haas continues to progress as they have, Gutierrez, armed with the experience and a capable vehicle, could put on one hell of a show in Austin.
  • …I know it’s a long way off, but…
  • …That’s what I’m (really) looking forward to (this season).
  • …Haas’ first home race, and Gutierrez’s return to F1, coming together…
  • …It’ll be great.
  • …Then will come Mexico.
  • …I’m telling you, for better or worse race results, the three North American stops are going to be total Haas parties.
  • …By the way, I made a mistake…
  • …Grosjean is tied with Kimi for fourth.
  • …They (both) have 18 points.
  • Speaking of standings…
  • …Want some?
  • The Drivers’ Championship…
  • …Rosberg 50 / Hamilton 33 / Ricciardo 24 / Räikkönen & Grosjean 18 / Vettel 15 / Massa 14 / Verstappen 9 / Hülkenberg, Kvyat, Bottas 6 / Sainz 2 / Vandoorne 1
  • The Constructors’ Championship…
  • …Mercedes 83 / Ferrari 33 / Red Bull 30 / Williams 20 / Haas 18 / Toro Rosso 11 / Force India 6 / McLaren 1
  • And…
  • …I’ve just read a Toro Rosso update that these are their first points scored at Bahrain.
  • …Wow.
  • …Just a very exciting day of firsts all over the paddock!
  • …Oh, and this was my first coverage of the season!
  • …And, it was fun, as always!
  • So…
  • That’s that for Bahrain.
  • Next up…
  • …China!
  • …With P1 kicking off at 9pm CT (or, something like that), Thursday, April 14th.
  • …And, the race lights going out around 1am Sunday, April 17th.
  • …With, you know, two more practice sessions and Qualifying between those.
  • So, some late nights ahead.
  • But, it’s all a part of being a fan, isn’t it?
  • …As much as we’d (all) love for everything to revolve around our lives.
  • …The woes of dedication, eh?
  • Anyway, I should see you at some point that weekend.
  • Until then…
  • …Yeah, okay, I’ll do it…
  • …Just because it -is- exciting and different and fun and all…
  • …Team America…
  • …Fuck yeah!
  • See you in China!

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF BAHRAIN (1.4.2016 – 3.4.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Good morning!
  • And, well, welcome to Formula 1 2016!
  • Which is being aired on the NBC networks in the US.
  • …Today, it’s on CNBC.
  • Yes, I missed Australia.
  • …I was (only) able to catch the race.
  • …And, for the second time since I’ve started doing this…
  • …Was grotesquely sick.
  • …You know…
  • …I never get sick.
  • …So, I guess I’m just a member of the ‘The Australian Grand Prix Wasn’t Meant to Be for Me’ club.
  • …Along with Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat.
  • …Who, if you missed it, for the second year in a row, had his car die during formation.
  • Anyway…
  • …This is the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
  • …Which is in Sakhir.
  • …At the Bahrain International Circuit.
  • …Which is 5.412km (3.363mi) in length.
  • …Has 15 turns.
  • …Is run clockwise.
  • …And, on race day, will be lapped 57 times.
  • …Which will bring the goal total distance travelled to 308.238km (191.530mi).
  • …Provided all goes well, of course.
  • …If you were wondering about that use of ‘goal’.
  • …This is F1.
  • …A lot can happen in a sport measured in split seconds.
  • Okay, so, this is my first time seeing the new Qualifying format that was introduced at Australia.
  • …But, I heard a lot about it.
  • …And, honestly, as big of a gamble as it is, I’m glad Hot Todty forced F1 to stick with it, rather than revert to its former incarnation.
  • …The theory is great.
  • …Periodic eliminations are great incentive to stay on game.
  • …But, there’s a lot to work out.
  • …And, quite frankly, high emotions aren’t going to allow for actual analysis.
  • …So, let’s do this.
  • …See what happens, see if there’s anything that can be worked with, and hope that teams don’t dig their heels in, just to prove a point.
  • Here we go.
  • Q1.
  • 16 minutes.
  • This is a lot to take in, isn’t it?  But, okay.
  • Hold on.
  • I’m confused.
  • I need a second that I don’t have.
  • So, the drops start at 6 (remaining) minutes?
  • Sauber’s Nasr and Manor’s Haryanto are out.
  • …Having not made it much further than the pits.
  • Renault’s Palmer is out.
  • As is his teammate, Magnussen.
  • Force India’s Perez is in the drop zone.
  • …With Sauber’s Ericsson just above him, and in the garage.
  • …Am I to guess that Sauber isn’t even going to give it a real go?
  • Mercedes’ Rosberg is leading.
  • …Followed by (teammate) Hamilton, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, and Ferrari’s Vettel.
  • Perez is out.
  • Ericsson is out.
  • The countdown is on for Manor’s Wehrlein.
  • …And, he’s the last of the Q1 eliminations.
  • Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Vettel, Williams’ Bottas, Ferrari’s Räikkönen, Toro Rosso’s Sainz and Verstappen, McLaren’s Button, Force India’s Hülkenberg, Haas’ Grosjean, Williams’ Massa, Haas’ Gutierrez, McLaren’s Vandoorne (in for the injured Alonso), and Red Bull’s Kvyat mosey on.
  • By the way, I should mention the rookiedookiedoos of the season.
  • …Because, we have a few.
  • …Out were all three of Manor’s 2015 drivers.
  • …In are Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein.
  • …Lotus reverted to Renault, and hired two new drivers.
  • …Including rookie Jolyon Palmer.
  • …(Joining the returning Kevin Magnussen.)
  • …And, we have Stoffel Vandoorne.
  • …Who is making his F1 debut this weekend with McHonda.
  • …As a last-minute seat filler for Alonso, who cracked a few ribs in his dramatic collision with Gutierrez in the opener.
  • …Yep, that’s all.
  • …He got out and walked away from that crumpled car, and he just needs a little extra time to make sure everything is 100%.
  • Right.
  • Q2.
  • 15 minutes.
  • 15 drivers remain.
  • Aaannnddd…
  • Yes, they’ve decided to emerge from their garages.
  • …That’s nice.
  • It’s a Ferrari v. Mercedes battle at the top.
  • …Back and forth, back and forth.
  • …All four of them.
  • With Bottas in fifth.
  • First drop…
  • …Kvyat.
  • Button is in danger.
  • …After coming in third in P2.
  • …Which had everyone, and their mother, checking and re-checking their time sheets.
  • …Hey, they said that their 2016 car was feeling good.
  • Button is out.
  • Haas is pulling Gutierrez in.
  • …With (only) 40-ish seconds to play with.
  • McHonda pulls Vandoorne in.
  • …Alonso meets him in the garage.
  • …The Belgian had never been in the car (prior to P1).
  • …And, had to fly to Bahrain, from Japan, at the very last minute.
  • …So, Alonso’s adopted a role of best-supporter-ever.
  • Is there no one on track?
  • Just Hülkenberg?
  • …Who’s in the drop zone.
  • …Not anymore.
  • …If moves to Sainz.
  • …Oh, well, they’ve pulled Sainz in.
  • Can’t they make the cars go out and stay out?
  • I read that Hamilton said the answer is simple: allow more tires.
  • …If that’s all this is coming down to, if they’re just pulling out to preserve tires…
  • …Let them have more tires.
  • Verstappen is out.
  • Grosjean is out.
  • …He’s got time, but he’s out of the car.
  • It’s just a lot of shots of drivers, walking.
  • With (only) Bottas on track.
  • …No joke.
  • …There was (only) one car on track.
  • …Well, I guess that fans deserve something.
  • Okay…
  • …In the end, it was Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, and Räikkönen on top.
  • …With Bottas, Ricciardo, Massa, and Hülkenberg heading to Q3.
  • Right…
  • …I see what’s wrong.
  • …Clearly.
  • …I mean, I can’t even call it a shit show, because there was no show (at all).
  • …But, I can (also) see what could be tweaked.
  • …Can we allow more tires?
  • …Can we require cars to be out (and, maybe even impose grid penalties for no-shows)?
  • …I feel like the ideas are there.
  • …But, they need some help.
  • …Put it this way, the bones are there, but they need some fleshing out.
  • …I really do like the elimination element.
  • …So, work with that.
  • …There’s huge potential (here).
  • …Take some deep breaths, really look at it, and see what you come up with, F1.
  • Q3.
  • 14 minutes.
  • Under the floodlights of the darkened circuit.
  • DUDU!
  • Dudu Massa’s in the house.
  • …So, now, it’s a party!
  • Is now a good time to request that Haas blasts classic rock from their garage?
  • I mean, everyone is pitting.
  • With seven minutes to go.
  • Hülkenberg is out.
  • Massa is out.
  • …Time to hang with Dudu.
  • …(Party.)
  • Oh!!!
  • Oh!!!
  • That was revealing!
  • Talking with (a smily, as always) Grosjean, he mentioned that, but exiting in a good position in Q2, they save tires for the race.
  • …That there’s nothing worse than finishing Q8, because they’d have to reuse the tires.
  • …So, it IS the tires!!!
  • …100% the tires!!!
  • Williams pulled Bottas at Q6.
  • Red Bull pulled Ricciardo at Q5.
  • Kimi went for it, but was knocked out when dropped to Q4.
  • Meanwhile, Hamilton has just set a Bahrain speed record.
  • Vettel is about to be stuck in third.
  • …And, done.
  • With 1:15 left.
  • So, it’s down to the Mercedes kids.
  • …Who appear to have given up?
  • …With the pole going to Hamilton.
  • What -is- this?
  • Make that punishable.
  • Time up.
  • Over half a minute after the action had ended.
  • So…
  • Here’s how it went…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Massa, Hülkenberg, Grosjean, Verstappen, Sainz, Vandoorne, Gutierrez, Button, Kvyat, Wehrlein, Ericsson, Perez, Magnussen, Palmer, Haryanto, and Nasr.
  • However, your grid will look more like this…
  • Hamilton, Rosberg
  • Vettel, Räikkönen
  • Ricciardo, Bottas
  • Massa, Hülkenberg
  • Grosjean, Verstappen
  • Sainz, Vandoorne
  • Gutierrez, Button
  • Kvyat, Wehrlein
  • Ericsson, Perez
  • Palmer, Haryanto
  • Nasr
  • And, Magnussen will start from the pitlane.
  • …After failing to stop for a weigh-in red light in P2.
  • Okay…
  • …So, I don’t know why everyone is all gloom-and-doom over this.
  • …Yes, it sucks.
  • …As it is.
  • …But, this can be fixed.
  • …More tires, more tires, more tires.
  • …Impose grid penalties for non-participants.
  • …(If they want to preserve the show of F1, prevent an empty track; that should serve as pretty decent incentive to get out.  You figure out the numeric details, like time allotments for your standard, expected stops, etc.)
  • …And, maybe, revert Q3 to the old format.
  • …Or, go halfsies (rather than eliminating to a two-car shoot-out, just eliminate the bottom half or few or so).
  • Don’t second-guess yourself, F1.
  • There’s so much potential (here).
  • Really.
  • There is.
  • And, for the record, as startling and overwhelming as it was at the start, it was easy enough to get into it.
  • Sometimes a little time is all you need.
  • As for performances?
  • I -still- can’t figure out where everyone stands.
  • I cannot pinpoint a midfield.
  • In fact, even the top is a little blurry.
  • Every time you think it’s just a Mercedes / Ferrari show, someone (else) crashes the party.
  • …Red Bull keeps doing it, Force India keeps wandering in, Williams keeps showing up, Toro Rosso likes to pop in, then, yesterday, Button busted on it.
  • …And, not just one representative from some of these teams.
  • …No, it’s various drivers.
  • …Then, you’ve got Haas, the new team, the new car, tailgating.
  • It’s craziness.
  • In the best way.
  • Which (only) makes fighting elimination even more interesting.
  • Let these guys showcase their potential.
  • It’s very exciting.
  • Well…
  • …Last year, it was Hamilton who took the top step of the podium.
  • …Flanked by Kimi (in second) and Rosberg (in third).
  • …With Bottas and Vettel just out of range.
  • So, who will it be this year?
  • We shall find out soon enough.
  • Action kicks off at 9:30am, on NBCSN, should you be in the US.
  • …Or, find yourself Stateside.
  • …Hopefully, by free will.
  • Bygones.
  • This is (totally) fixable!!!
  • Hop to, F1!
  • Toodles!

MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2016 RALLY SWEDEN (10.2.2016 – 14.2.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS21 (POWER STAGE)…

  • Good morning.
  • Remember the final stage of Rally Sweden in 2015?
  • Yeah…
  • …Neither do I.
  • Mmmhmmm.
  • Anyway…
  • Welcome to Rally Sweden.
  • The last of two live stages being aired on MAVTV (in the US).
  • It’s the final countdown.
  • …Oh, yes; cue Europe’s “The Final Countdown”.
  • This is SS21.
  • …Värmullsåsen 2.
  • …Which is 15.87 km (9.86 mi) of who knows what.
  • …Ending on a ski run.
  • …(If you’re new to this, I’m quite serious; it’s an actual ski run.)
  • …And, worth bonus points.
  • …One for third (in stage).
  • …Two for second.
  • …Three for first.
  • Now, when you see a “2” (next to a stage name), it means that it is the second loop of that stage.
  • However, thanks to a freaky up-and-down winter throughout much of Sweden and Norway, a bulk of the stages were left undrivable.
  • …With the remaining roads a dangerous mix of gravel and ice.
  • …Just waiting to rip the spikes out of the tires and send the cars flying.
  • …And, they did.
  • But, the worst may have come when Mother Nature granted so many wishes for snow.
  • …With a mix of heavy snow and sarcasm.
  • …Sending cars all over the place.
  • …Delaying them, causing them to run over buried obstacles, and so on.
  • In other words, everyone is a winner.
  • …And, no one is a winner.
  • Here we go.
  • Car #2…
  • …Volkwagen’s Jerry Matt Latvala and Miikka Anttila.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in 26th place, after disaster hit the triple Rally Sweden winner right off the bat.
  • …If he should place in the top three (in this stage), he will have some points this season.
  • …Oh, don’t worry.
  • …He’ll be fine.
  • Car #7…
  • …Abu Dhabi Total’s Meeke and Nagle.
  • …Citroën DS3 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in 24th, after he nailed what is being called a rock (but, looked more like a goddamn boulder) in that aforementioned blast of snow.
  • …While in second.
  • …Yes, that’s two-for-two in the weird rocks ruining Meeke and Nagle’s fight for first in 2016.
  • …Basically, he’s Jerry Matt in 2012.
  • …Which is (basically) Charlie Brown trick-or-treating.
  • …”I got a rock.”
  • Car #14…
  • …Abu Dhabi Total WRT’s Al Qassimi and Patterson.
  • …Citroën DS3 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in 19th.
  • …With no major missteps.
  • …Al Qassimi is the ‘Abu Dhabi’.
  • …He runs select WRC rounds.
  • …And, just cannot resist Sweden.
  • …He’s even won the Colins Crest award.
  • …He’s there because it’s a challenge, it’s different, and he loves it.
  • …And, frankly, I love seeing him there.
  • …Rocking his own little rally.
  • …Speaking of…
  • …Remember when Chris Patterson drove the final run of Rally Sweden?
  • …No?
  • …Well, he was co-driving for Petter Solberg.
  • …Solberg was busted for speeding (between stages).
  • …He had 48 hours before he would lose his license.
  • …And, more than 48 hours left in the rally.
  • …So, Patterson took the wheel.
  • …So much cooler than Jesus.
  • …Bygones.
  • Car #3…
  • …Hyundai Motorsport’s Neuville/Gilsoul.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in 14th…
  • …Need I explain further?
  • …It’s been a wild ride in the Swedish woods this weekend, kids.
  • Car #15…
  • …Abu Dhabi Total’s Breen/Martin.
  • …Citroën DS3 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in eighth.
  • …In his guest appearance with Abu Dhabi.
  • …Preet impressive.
  • …But, well, Breen is one of those guys who can and should.
  • …But, just hasn’t managed to land a full-time manufacturer seat.
  • Car #16…
  • …Indie darlings Solberg/Minor.
  • …Yes, WRC TV, it’s a Solberg, cue the dance music!
  • …Anyway…
  • …The WRC vets are in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …And, sitting in a “yep, still got it”, drama-avoidant seventh.
  • …Now, can we keep them?
  • Car #20…
  • …Hyundai Motorsport N’s Sordo/Martí.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in sixth.
  • …A little drama included.
  • …As the WRC veteran continues to show the world that he’s more than his gravel-expert reputation.
  • …Yes, he’s that good – and, getting better.
  • Car #12…
  • …DMACK WRT’s Tänak/Mõlder.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC, DMACK tires.
  • …Sitting in fifth.
  • …Tänak, celebrating his daughter’s second birthday weekend with a solid weekend at work.
  • Car #9…
  • …Volkswagen Motorsport II’s alarmingly attractive Mikkelsen/Jæger.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in fourth.
  • …After a major spin destroyed not just his hope of a win…
  • …But, his chances at a podium.
  • …So, no redemption for last year’s loss of the win in the final stage for Blue and White Steel..
  • …Yet.
  • Car #5…
  • …M-Sport WRT’s Østberg/Fløene.
  • …Yes, back-to-back Norwegians.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Sitting in third.
  • …Which -is-, traditionally, Mads Place (at Rally Sweden).
  • …He’s just there so often.
  • …So close to a home win, yet so far away.
  • …Oh, someday.
  • Okay, here we go.
  • Last year, it was in that final two that everything changed.
  • Too much drama.
  • Let’s not do that, okay?
  • Car #4…
  • …Hyundai Motorsport’s Paddon/Kennard.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …In second.
  • …With everything against them…
  • …Outside of pure talent.
  • …A fast run for the Kiwis.
  • …Uh…
  • …What’s that cloud coming from under the hood?
  • …Um…
  • …Okay…
  • …They’ve got to get that thing all the way back to service (at Karlstad) in order to hold that place.
  • …Go, go, Gadget, whateverittakes!
  • And, finally, Car #1…
  • …Volkswagen Motorsport’s Ogier/Ingrassia.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …In first.
  • …Again.
  • …Despite some weird incidents.
  • …Absolutely flying down those ski runs.
  • …Which shouldn’t be that much of a shock, given his competitive skiing history.
  • …And, of course, he’s won the stage.
  • …And, the rally.
  • …His third Rally Sweden win.
  • …(Which ties him with the Jer-Bear in active driver Swedish domination.)
  • …Which translates to another non-Nordic win at a Nordic round.
  • …Which is always…fun.
  • Back to Paddon and Kennard for a moment…
  • …They’re pulled over, working on the car.
  • …A little chat with the always calm and positive Kennard reveals that they’ve put a hole in the radiator, after a collision with a post.
  • …But, they’ve got gunk to stop it up with and, a reminder from Kennard, it’s cold and they’ve got plenty of water alongside the roads.
  • …And, if all else fails, Kennard’s cool should keep the engine in check.
  • Podium time.
  • OH!  YES!
  • …The Michelin Man has been on absolute fire this weekend!
  • …Just a goddamn dancing queen!
  • …Is Petter Solberg in there?
  • …I mean, wow!
  • Eh, the podium was a podium.
  • So, back to Paddon and Kennard.
  • …Who have returned to their car after a stop at the podium.
  • …They have an hour and forty minutes to get back to service.
  • …And, it seems, zero worries.
  • …Time is on their side, so they’re doing a solid fix.
  • …And, they’ve kept some podium champagne.
  • …If you’ll recall, at Rally Mexico 2014, Neuville and Gilsoul ran into a similar problem.
  • …But, with more extensive radiator damage.
  • …They saved their podium by using their celebratory Coronas to keep the car cool enough to get (back) to service.
  • …It was memorable.
  • …And, a lesson.
  • …When asked if that’s what the champagne was for, Paddon responded, “It couldn’t hurt”.
  • …They’ve got this, kids.
  • …Now, go ahead and place your bets on this being the year the Kiwis get their first WRC win.
  • Okay, well, that’s that.
  • In the end…
  • …It was Ogier and Ingrassia who took the three bonus points.
  • …With Mikkelsen and Jæger taking two.
  • …And, Meeke and Nagle taking their first point of the season.
  • …Beating Neuville and Gilsoul by fractions of a second.
  • …With the Jer-Bear and Anttila rounding out the top five.
  • …In danger of being referred to as “pointless”.
  • …(Pointsless!!!  Pointsless!!!  For the love of whatever, POINTSLESS!!!)
  • Overall…
  • …Ogier and Ingrassia take their third Rally Sweden win.
  • …A little extra birthday weekend treat for Andrea Kaiser (Mrs Ogier, who, as announced after Monte-Carlo, is expecting their first junior).
  • …Paddon and Kennard (assuming they get back to service) match their WRC best and blow their 2015 Rally Sweden best (fifth) out of the water.
  • …And, Mads scores his fourth third-place at Sweden (I dubbed it Mads Place years ago; this is what I’m saying), with (co-driver) Ola, revisiting last year’s place (while with Mikkelsen).
  • Mikkelsen/Jæger and Tänak/Mõlder round out the top five.
  • …The Norwegians, in a new partnership.
  • …The Estonians, with a brand-spankin’ new WRC team.
  • …So, a lot to be proud of, there.
  • …I mean, the conditions couldn’t have been more against everyone.
  • …Seriously, for better and worse, amazing job on everyone’s part.
  • …And, that includes Lorenzo Bertelli, who dropped out, citing unsafe conditions.
  • …He tried, he was doing pretty well, but he didn’t feel comfortable.
  • …And, as an indie, even with the help of M-Sport, he just doesn’t have the resources to back a risk he’s not feeling good about at all.
  • …He gave it a go, and he was honest.
  • …It’s all good.
  • …Really, everyone is good, here.
  • …It was tough.
  • …But, in the end, the organizers pulled together a solid revision.
  • …And, everyone made the most of it.
  • …Hey, we celebrate Monte-Carlo for being terrifying and unstable.
  • …So, Sweden deviated from the preconceived notions of what it should be.
  • …This is rally.
  • …It’s unpredictable and tough by nature.
  • …If you don’t like it, watch some piano recitals.
  • …But, be warned, pianists have been known to hit the wrong key.
  • …Though, it doesn’t make the concert any less impressive.
  • …I, for one, have zero worries for the future of Rally Sweden.
  • …So many options, so few places on the calendar to try them all in a year.
  • How about some Championship standings?
  • …On the Drivers’ side…
  • …Ogier 56 / Mikkelsen 33 / Østberg 27 / Sordo 18
  • …On the Co-Drivers’ side…
  • …Ingrassia 56 / Jæger 33 / Fløene 27 / Martí 18
  • …Yep, that’s Mikkelsen’s rookie co-driver, in second.
  • …With Mikkelsen’s longtime co-driver, in third, in (only) his second WRC round with Mads.
  • …I think these may be the start of some beautiful partnerships.
  • …(Yes, that was a purposeful paraphrase.  No, not a Bergman scene, but a Bergman movie.)
  • …Manufacturers’…
  • …Volkswagen 54 / Hyundai 49 / Volkswagen II 30 / M-Sport 27
  • Next up…
  • …The WRC takes its tour from my great grandma’s hometown to the continent she decided to move to.
  • …(But, further south of where she landed.  Because, no one wants to come here in the winter.)
  • …Rally Mexico.
  • …The home of rocks.
  • …So many rocks.
  • …The annual live action reenactment of Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons kicks off March 3rd.
  • …It’ll be fun!
  • …In spite of how un-fun I made it sound (by bringing up ancestry and rocks).
  • …And, in spite of Ogier and Ingrassia, being on a roll, and having dominated Mexico for the past three years.
  • …Hey, maybe Meeke/Nagle and Paddon/Kennard will battle each other for first.
  • …It’s realistic.
  • …Stay tuned.
  • Hey!
  • Rally Sweden is over!
  • Don’t you miss it (already)?
  • I do.
  • That was one hell of a ride, packed into an abridged 13 stages!
  • I don’t think “character building” is too cliche for this round.
  • A lot of what they (everyone, from participants to organizers) experienced here will come in so handy in the future.
  • …Just look at Neuville’s Corona.
  • And, just remember, there are 12 rounds to go.
  • That’s a lot of uncertainty.
  • A lot can, and will, happen.
  • I feel like this could be a puberty guide.
  • …’So You’re 1000 Points Behind’…
  • …The moral of the shittily written booklet being…
  • …It’s going to be fine.
  • …It’ll all work out.
  • …(For those worrying about guys like Meeke/Nagle and Poopiekins/Kif.)
  • …(Have I ever explained “Kif”?  I’ve been using it as long as “Jerry Matt”, but more sparingly, as I wasn’t sure anyone would pick up on the “Futurama” reference.  It stems from the Jer-Bear’s string of bad luck, years ago.  Zapp Brannigan’s poor assistant, Kif, always lets out these exasperated sighs as Zapp charges, full speed, into whatever crosses his mind.  I don’t know, it just seemed right/wrong.)
  • Okay…
  • …Well, that’s that for Rally Sweden.
  • …(In the tone of Clark W Griswald, with a sniffle, looking over the “somewhere in Germany” landscape) the motherland.
  • …Fun fact: ‘European Vacation’ is the only ‘Vacation’ movie using “Griswald” (rather than “Griswold”).
  • Let’s do this next year!
  • In whatever capacity.
  • I mean, now that we know that it can be like this, and (still) be rad.
  • Is it wrong to be so stoked for next year?
  • Yes?
  • Okay.
  • Anyway…
  • Next is Mexico.
  • Until then…
  • Dance.
  • Dance like the Michelin Man on the starting ramp.
  • Dance.
  • Put on your red shoes and dance under the yellow-and-blues.
  • Happy Valentine’s Day!

MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2016 RALLY MONTE CARLO (20.1.2016 – 24.1.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS15…

  • Hello.
  • …From the other side.
  • …Get it?
  • …Because, I covered SS14 Col de L’Orme – St Laurent 1…
  • …And, this is SS16 Col de L’Orme – St Laurent 2.
  • …Is it wrong that I’m not on the Adele train?
  • …I mean, she’s grotesquely talented, and I do love singing along to some of her songs in the car, but…
  • …I’m just not aboard that train.
  • …Nor am I on the Beyonce train.
  • …Well, now I’ve gone and done it, eh?
  • …Bygones.
  • Yes!
  • …This is Rallye Monte-Carlo 2016!
  • …As viewed in the US (live) on MAVTV.
  • …And, this?
  • …This is the grand finale.
  • …SS16.
  • …Col de L’Orme – St Laurent 2.
  • …The Power Stage.
  • …Three bonus points to the top three times.
  • …(Three to #1, two to #2, one to #3.)
  • …The stage is 12.02 km (7.47 mi) in length.
  • …The surface is tarmac.
  • …It is snow and ice free (today).
  • …And, the route is the world’s worst parking ramp with the best view.
  • …Why do I say that?
  • …Because, it’s all hairpins, zig-zagging down the mountainside.
  • …It’s like a parking ramp.
  • …And, none of these guys can find a goddamn place to park.
  • …You just have to go all the way down.
  • …Big.  Sigh.
  • Okay, so, how did the warm-up (SS14) go?
  • …It was Ogier/Ingrassia on top.
  • …With Sordo/Martí, Neuville/Gilsoul, Mikkelsen/Jæger, Lefebvre/Moreau, Paddon/Kennard, Østberg/Fløene, and Tänak/Mõlder rounding out the top eight.
  • …Which (also) happens to be the remaining eight.
  • We started with 14 WRC cars.
  • …We are down to eight.
  • …And, here is what that top eight looks like…
  • …It’s Ogier/Ingrassia on top.
  • …With Mikkelsen/Jæger and Neuville/Gilsoul in podium position.
  • …From there, it’s Østberg/Fløene, Lefebvre/Moreau, Sordo/Martí, and Tänak/Mõlder.
  • …Paddon and Kennard sit in 26th.
  • …After an early exit on Friday.
  • …They stand as the only remaining restarters.
  • …Every other one of those exits was terminal.
  • Apparently, there is a stage start delay.
  • Also, according to the WRC broadcast, Neuville and Gilsoul are working on their car.
  • …Which is…great.
  • Now, don’t expect too much action from this stage.
  • …There are substantial gaps between every single squad.
  • …With the exception of Sordo/Martí and Tänak/Mõlder, who are separated by 46.1 seconds.
  • …So, the name of this game is preservation.
  • …No big risks.
  • …Just finish.
  • …Ogier has (already) stated (over social media) that he doesn’t feel he has the tires to push for maximum bonus points.
  • …Plus, after his Power Stage crash at Spain, giving the win to Mikkelsen, I’m not sure he’s (really) into risking a redo.
  • Okay, here we go.
  • Car #10, Hyundai Motorsport N’s Paddon and Kennard.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …26th (overall).
  • …Sixth in the first loop.
  • …The Kiwis had a solid start, retired with suspension damage on Friday, and haven’t set a foot out of line since restarting (on Saturday).
  • …They’re smart, they’re talented, they know that it’s all about gaining experience (now).
  • …That, combined with some stellar results in 2015, is what earned them a sweet three-year contract extension with Hyundai.
  • …As part of their three-car rotating squad.
  • …A little twitching in the corners.
  • …But, again, they’re not pushing for anything other than completion.
  • …Try to enjoy it, boys.
  • …It’s pretty cool.
  • …You’ll have plenty more opportunities to push in the future.
  • …Aaannnddd, they’re approaching the end.
  • …”Slowly”, but surely.
  • …Good job, guys.
  • …Ah, and they confirm an issue with the differential (as they pull up for a chat).
  • …But, Paddon seems fine.
  • …The dude’s got a great attitude.
  • …Just relaxed.
  • …Saving the intensity for the drives.
  • …By the way, I was able to chat so much about Paddon/Kennard, because he’s followed by WRC2’s Evans.
  • …Who WILL be back (to the WRC) soon enough.
  • …He just needs a little confidence building and work on balancing steadiness with pushing.
  • Car #4, Hyundai Motorsport’s lead squad, Sordo and Martí.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Second through the first loop.
  • …Sixth overall.
  • …Like most teams, they’ve had to piece their car (back) together.
  • …But, they’ve managed to get it through without having to restart.
  • …Yay to that, eh?
  • Car #12, DMACK’s Tänak and Mõlder.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC, DMACK tires.
  • …Eighth through the first loop.
  • …Seventh overall.
  • …Now, if you want an example of just how all about survival Rallye Monte-Carlo is…
  • …These guys not only spun (earlier in the rally)…
  • …They rolled.
  • …Then, they got (back) on the road and kept going.
  • …Which brought them to where they are now.
  • …A top-ten result for DMACK WRT’s debut.
  • Car #8, Abu Dhabi WRT’s Lefebvre/Moreau.
  • …Citroën DS3 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Fifth in the first loop.
  • …Fifth overall.
  • …A more than solid Abu Dhabi debut for the Frenchman.
  • …As he gives the crowd a loud, dramatic handbrake turn around that final hairpin.
  • Car #5, M-Sport WRT’s  Østberg and Fløene.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Seventh in the first loop.
  • …Fourth overall.
  • …In Østberg’s return to M-Sport.
  • …And, Fløene’s return to co-driving for Østberg.
  • …After a million years with Mikkelsen, Tidemand, and Mikkelsen (again).
  • …So, it’s a return to Norwegian notes for Mads.
  • …Who has spent that last million years with Swede Jonas Andersson.
  • …Using a combination of Norwegian, Swedish, and English.
  • …So, everything old is new (again) in the Fiesta.
  • Car #3, Hyundai Motorsport’s Neuville and Gilsoul.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Third in the first loop.
  • …Third overall.
  • …And, what the hell is that rattling (coming from the car)?
  • …He’s got over two minutes on Mads, so, if they can just get the thing to the end, they should preserve their podium place.
  • …They don’t look too worried, just determined and cautious.
  • …And, they’re through.
  • …Oh, and Neuville reports a transmission problem and two-wheel drive.
  • …And, adds that they’re not back to the service park (yet).
  • …You have to get your car home to (actually) finish the rally.
  • Car #9, Volkswagen Motorsport II’s Mikkelsen and Jæger.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Fourth in the first loop.
  • …Second overall.
  • …A pretty amazing debut for Andreas’ equally alarmingly attractive new co-driver, friend Anders.
  • …I just…can’t.
  • …I mean, oh my god.
  • …Okay, they’re through, they’ve chatted, please go.
  • …I just can’t, not without laughing.
  • Car #1, Volkswagen Motorsport’s reigning World Champions Ogier and Ingrassia.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …This is Ogier’s home rally, (actually) being from Gap.
  • …And, I’ve heard that he (still) has a place around there.
  • …Not Monaco, like most professional athletes who could live anywhere.
  • …No, around his hometown.
  • …So, the fam’s all there for this one.
  • …First in the first loop.
  • …First overall.
  • …He said that he doesn’t have the tires to push for maximum points.
  • …But, that look crazy-fast.
  • …He’s done it.
  • …He’s won the Power Stage.
  • …So, he takes absolute maximum points.
  • …And, you’d be silly to write this off as another Ogier domination.
  • …He was very verbal over his enjoyment of fighting with Meeke all weekend.
  • …Then, when Meeke’s gearbox croaked, Ogier jumped right in to help, getting right under the car with them to see if they could come up with something, anything to keep the battle going to the end.
  • …There was a fight.
  • …Then, third-place Latvala/Anttila retired.
  • …Followed by second-place Meeke/Nagle.
  • …So, what can you do?
  • …The gap was huge by nature.
  • …And, that first-place -was- hard-earned.
  • …It’s just that the challenger retired late in the game.
  • …I think this is going to be a very interesting season.
  • …(You know, as opposed to the uninteresting ones.)
  • Okay, so, SS16…
  • …Ogier and Ingrassia take three (bonus) points.
  • …Sordo and Martí take two.
  • …And, the Blue and White Steel collective takes one.
  • …Lefebvre/Moreau and Østberg/Fløene round out the top five.
  • …As Tänak/Mõlder take sixth, Paddon/Kennard take 14th, and Neuville/Gilsoul take 15th.
  • …The latter two subject to change, as support category cars continue to come through.
  • Overall…
  • …Which, as this is Round 1, doubles as the Championship Standings…
  • …Ogier/Ingrassia take the win.
  • …Mikkelsen/Jæger take second.
  • …In Jæger’s WRC debut.
  • …And, Neuville/Gilsoul take third.
  • …Crushing those memories of the days of never getting past SS1.
  • …Østberg/Fløene and Lefebvre/Moreau complete the top five.
  • …So, a lot of newbies (in one way, or another) at the top.
  • …Pretty cool, eh?
  • …Sordo and Martí come out ahead of Tänak and Mõlder in the battle for sixth.
  • …With both squads winning in the comeback from disaster category.
  • …And, Paddon and Kennard finish.
  • …Again, as the lone restart finishers.
  • …So, nothing to be scoffed at.
  • …Monte-Carlo is the ultimate love-hate relationship.
  • …It’s hard.
  • …The route is hard, the ever-changing conditions of varying nightmares are hard, it’s the opener (after being off since November)…
  • …Everything is against you at Monte.
  • …The goal is to finish.
  • …The realistic expectation is to learn and prepare for the rest of the season.
  • …So, really, amazing job to all those who came, saw, and did the best they could.
  • …And, to all those who finished…
  • …You can breathe, now.
  • And, as the kids haze the new kid on the podium…
  • …It’s time to bid a fond-ish adieu to Monte-Carlo.
  • …And, look ahead.
  • Next up…
  • …Rally Sweden.
  • …Valentine’s Day weekend.
  • …Because, who doesn’t love it?
  • …(Okay, among other elements, my great-grandma was from Värmland, so I may be a tad biased.)
  • …The true snow rally.
  • …With no tires gambles to be made.
  • …It’s just one, big, stud fest.
  • …With studded tires.
  • …(Boom.)
  • Before I go…
  • …Let’s revisit the Jer-Bear for a moment.
  • …So, if you missed the story of Latvala and Anttila’s retirement…
  • …The two slammed their Polo into a SS11 ditch and flung their broken car across a small field of grass between road sections.
  • …Simple enough.
  • …Except that the field was filled with spectators.
  • …All of whom ran out of the way.
  • …Except for one dude.
  • …Who opted to reach for his camera equipment.
  • …And, was (promptly) nailed by Jerry Matt.
  • …Now, a few things…
  • …First, it was low speed.
  • …Second, the windshield was covered in mud and being hosed with steam (from the stricken engine).
  • …The combination of which left the Jer-Bear and Miikka absolutely clueless as to the fact that they’d just hit a human being.
  • …Upon finding out, the unlucky Man from the Land of Luck immediately started spewing desperate apologies, (clearly) horrified by what had happened.
  • …(Personally, if someone told me that I’d hit a human with my car, I’d be throwing up through my feet.  I think you know the sensation I’m trying to encapsulate.  Draining, sinking, sick, panicked, and so on.  Even knowing that it wasn’t serious, that it was an accident, and that it’s just one of the hazards of rally.  It’d be traumatizing.)
  • …Now, with all that in mind.
  • …The FIA has slapped the Bear with a €5000 fine.
  • …And, a suspended one-event ban.
  • …Meaning, if he hits another person, and fails to stop (again), he’ll have to sit out for one rally.
  • …Apparently, the regulations require a driver to (immediately) stop the car, if the come into contact with a person not associated with the WRC.
  • …So, like, spectators, unaccredited photographers, etc.
  • …You can (totally) plow right over anyone else, I guess.
  • …Anyway, even though he had no idea he’d made contact, and, thus, had no reason to stop…
  • …Remember that stopping is (also) a hazard, with its own requirements, not to mention that it ruins any chance of saving the car (and, in turn, rally)…
  • …The fact remains that contact -was- made.
  • …And, he didn’t stop.
  • …But, everyone knows what happened, knows that it was an accident of the most by-definition variety, saw how (genuinely) mortified and sorry he was (and is) for it, and I (for one) don’t see him getting into another situation like this in 2016.
  • …I mean, it’s rally, and he’s the Jer-Bear, so you never know.
  • …But, he’s never nailed a human before (from what I can recall).
  • …And, contact is rare (despite it being too often).
  • …So, I just hope he can (mentally) get past this.
  • …Enough to continue driving aggressively.
  • …Because, I mean, even with all the facts, I can’t imagine ever (really) recovering from hitting a human person thing with your car.
  • …I brake for squirrels.
  • …I (once) hit a raccoon (that ran out not ahead of my car, but as I was passing!  a deer -also- ran into the side of my car, once – really, my existence is that unnoticed, even by the animal kingdom), and I can (still) see it.
  • …(It ran off, by the way.  Which further emphasizes my point.)
  • …Anyway, I’m just so sorry this had to happen to the Jer-Bear.
  • …He seems like a really nice guy, who has enough problems, being his (own) worst enemy.
  • …I hope he has the best season yet.
  • …(Eh, I always do, though, don’t I?)
  • …Anyway, just so you know, Jerry Matt is barred from any more hit-and-runs this season.
  • On that note…
  • …Have a nice day!

MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2016 RALLY MONTE CARLO (20.1.2016 – 24.1.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS14…

  • Good morning, World Rally Championship world!
  • …Well, I mean, it’s 2am in my corner.
  • …But, okay.
  • …Technically here, and definitely in Monaco.
  • …Which is important.
  • …Because, this is Rallye Monte-Carlo.
  • Yes, it’s the final day.
  • The final three stages.
  • Starting with this one.
  • SS14…
  • …Col de L’Orme – St Laurent 1.
  • …12.02 km (7.47 mi).
  • …Yes, it’s the world’s worst parking ramp with the amazing view.
  • …All those hairpins.
  • …So many, many, hairpins.
  • …Zig-zagging down the mountainside.
  • …The actual stuff of my very real nightmares.
  • …How did I end up doing this, again?
  • …Ah, yes; because I love the sport.
  • …And, hate myself.
  • …Bygones.
  • …This will be the first loop of this stage.
  • …The second will be SS16.
  • …The Power Stage.
  • …So, note the performances.
  • …Because, the teams sure will be.
  • …It’s like a really horrible bonus recce, really.
  • So, how do the standings look (as we go into this final day)?
  • …Well, the cars will head down in reverse standing order.
  • …So, there’s your tip-off.
  • …But, as a courtesy…
  • …After too much Monte-typical drama yesterday, Volkswagen’s Ogier holds a (nearly) two-minute lead on teammate (of the VWII variety) Mikkelsen.
  • …Who, in turn, has a tiny 12.5-second lead over BFF Neuville.
  • …Who is over 2 minutes up on M-Sport’s Østberg.
  • …From there, it’s Lefebvre, Tänak, and Sordo.
  • …With Paddon, trailing in 31st.
  • …Which may seem a little hideous, but Paddon is the lone surviving restarter (after exiting on Friday).
  • …No, really.
  • …There were 14 WRC entries.
  • …Eight remain.
  • …If you’re new to Rallye Monte-Carlo…
  • …This is Rallye Monte-Carlo.
  • …The ultimate love-hate relationship.
  • …All that beauty, all that history…
  • …All those hateful roads, all those variations of disgusting weather conditions.
  • …So, keep in mind that this is just round one.
  • …I say it all the time, and I’ll die, standing by it…
  • …Rallye Monte-Carlo doesn’t (really) count.
  • …It’s like a freak show opening act.
  • …It tosses everyone (back) into the darkest of deep ends, after their winter break.
  • …It’s all about survival and learning.
  • …From here, these guys can handle anything.
  • Okay, here we go.
  • …(As usual, I’ll try to squeeze in as much information that pops in my head as I can.)
  • …(And, as usual, I’ll forget many, many important things.  So, bear with me.)
  • Hyundai Motorsport N’s Paddon and Kennard.
  • …Car #10.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, michelin tires.
  • …The Kiwis stand in 31st, after that (aforementioned) early exit.
  • …But, haven’t had any issues since.
  • …They’re smart and talented, they know it’s (now) all about getting as much experience and learning out of this as they can.
  • …No points are at stake (excluding the potential for Power Stage points, later).
  • …So, steadiness and completion are the name of the game.
  • Hyundai Motorsport’s Sordo and Martí.
  • …Car #4.
  • …Which, I’m (still) a tad confused over, as Hyundai nominated this team as their lead squad.
  • …Simply meaning that, while rotating their three drivers, they’ll make sure Sordo is the one to comply with the minimum entry count rules (I believe it’s one driver with 10 rallies under the same team to keep the team in the Manufacturers’ title bid).
  • …So, you’d think Sordo would get #3.
  • …But, Neuville did finish ahead of him in the 2015 Drivers’ Championship, so…
  • …Anyway…
  • …They stand in seventh (overall).
  • …But, are just 2.2 seconds from sixth.
  • …Like most of the remaining cars, this i20 was crashed, broken, pieced together, forced (back) to service, and fixed.
  • …Again, welcome to Monte-Carlo.
  • Dmack’s Tänak and Mõlder.
  • …Car #12.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Dmack tires.
  • …The Estonians are (currently) in 6th.
  • …But, (only) by 2.2 seconds.
  • …So, the battle for sixth continues today.
  • …This is Dmack’s first outing as a WRC team (fostered by M-Sport).
  • …And, the car was not only crashed, it was full-on rolled (on Friday).
  • …So, sixth is just your typical Monte-amazing.
  • …Hey, this is what Tänak does.
  • …He wills cars on to extremes.
  • …Steep, grassy or wooded, ditches are no deterrent for this Estonian.
  • …He will (literally) just slam his foot down and gun it until he moves.
  • …Fun stuff.
  • …Hey, question, how many times do you think I’ve varied the spelling (capitalization) of “DMACK”?
  • …Bygones.
  • Abu Dhabi Total’s Lefebvre and Moreau.
  • …Car #8.
  • …Citroën DS3 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …The not-Citroën WRT, but (basically) Citroën rookie sits in fifth.
  • …I mean, he’s not 100% new.
  • …But, this is his big, regular appearance debut.
  • …Pretty good one, eh?
  • M-Sport’s Østberg and Fløene.
  • …Car #5.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Running in fourth, in his return to M-Sport.
  • …And, with his new partnership with Mr Ola.
  • …So, a lot of new going on (there).
  • …Just remember, it’s not (only) a new pace note system being figured out…
  • …Mads is (now) hearing those notes 100% in his native language.
  • …Andersson is Swedish, so they used a weird combination of Swedish/Norwegian/English.
  • …Ola is Norwegian.
  • …So, something as simple as a natural flow could feel a but unnatural after so many years.
  • Hyundai Motorsport’s Neuville and Gilsoul.
  • …Car #3.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …The Belgians are running in third.
  • …Which came as a bit of a surprise, after two of the top runners were knocked out late in yesterday’s game.
  • …They’ve come a long way from their years of crashing out in the opening stage.
  • Volkswagen Motorsport II’s Mikkelsen and Jæger.
  • …Car #9.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Running in second.
  • …With another new partnership in the car.
  • …After Fløene joined Østberg at M-Sport, Mikkelsen was left with very few options.
  • …With the 2016 season fast approaching, he (literally) called a friend.
  • …An attractive friend.
  • …Seriously, I was laughing, looking at photos of them, just in the car, a few days ago.
  • …It’s like they’re modeling anything and everything they’re doing.
  • …But, not.
  • …It’s just how they look.
  • …As if Mikkelsen’s alarming attractiveness wasn’t enough…
  • …It’s…wow…yeah…
  • …So, anyway, this is Anders’ WRC debut.
  • …Hey, (obviously) Mikkelsen trusts him.
  • …And, they appear to be adapting quite well.
  • …So, it may just be another case of under-the-radar talent, just waiting to be noticed.
  • …(And, taken seriously.  Hey, Mikkelsen seems smart, funny, and weird enough; and they seem to be able to turn left.  Admit it, you were a little half-seriously worried that two really, really, ridiculously good lookings could only make a right, too.)
  • And, here we go…
  • …Volkswagen Motorsport’s reigning World Champions, Ogier and Ingrassia.
  • …Car #1.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Running in first.
  • …As they’re more than familiar with.
  • …Ogier was having a blast, racing Meeke all weekend.
  • …In fact, when Meeke’s car broke down (yesterday), Ogier jumped in to help.
  • …There are photos of him, right in there, under the car, trying to figure something/anything out to keep Meeke in the rally and the battle alive.
  • …But, the damage was terminal.
  • …So, here the Frenchmen are, with a (nearly) two-minute lead over Mikkelsen.
  • Well, that’s it for SS14.
  • …Ogier takes the win.
  • …With Sordo (now in sixth overall), Neuville, Mikkelsen, and Lefebvre rounding out the top five.
  • …Paddon, Østberg, and Tänak complete the remaining eight.
  • …Yes, again, we started with 14 WRC entries.
  • …We are down to eight.
  • …But, how many will make it to the end?
  • …Two stages remain.
  • …I’ll be back for the grande finale to find out.

MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2016 RALLY MONTE CARLO (20.1.2016 – 24.1.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS1…

  • Wrangle up some cars, Tawny, because here we go (again).
  • The WRC is back.
  • This is Rallye Monte-Carlo.
  • This is SS1.
  • And, it’s on MAVTV (in the US).
  • Okay, so, Rally Monte Carlo…
  • …16 stages.
  • …377.59 competitive km (234.62 mi).
  • …1488.99 total km (925.22mi).
  • And, SS1…
  • …Entrevaux – Rouaine
  • …Which is 21.11km (13.12mi).
  • …On tarmac.
  • …And, in the dark.
  • …Last year, the opening stage was comprised of glare ice.
  • …Which terrified every driver.
  • …With the exception of Henning Solberg.
  • …Who pulled up to time control, laughing, claiming it was the most fun he’s ever had (rallying).
  • …Unfortunately, Solberg will not be here to defend his…whatever that was.
  • …Fortunately, the roads appear to be less today.
  • …We’ll just ignore the fact that the temperatures are hovering around freezing.
  • …Hey, welcome to Rally Monte Carlo.
  • Speaking of 2015, though…
  • …It was Volkswagen’s Ogier and Ingrassia who took the win.
  • …Joined by teammates Latvala and Anttila in second.
  • …And Citroën’s Meeke and Nagle in third.
  • And, as for yesterday’s Shakedown…
  • …It was Meeke and Nagle who clocked the top time.
  • …With Ogier and Ingrassia up next.
  • …Followed by Hyundai’s Sordo and Martí, their teammates Neuville and Gilsoul, and VWII’s alarmingly attractive Mikkelsen and Jaeger rounding out the top five.
  • Here.
  • We.
  • Go.
  • Up first…
  • …#1, Volkswagen’s Ogier and Ingrassia.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Last year’s winners, last year’s World Champions.
  • …Right now, they have no idea what (exactly) they’re driving on.
  • …See all those dark spots on the road?
  • …Could be damp, could be frozen, could just be the road.
  • It’s Jer-Bear time!
  • …#2, Volkswagen’s Latvala and Anttila.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …Second last year.
  • …His best at RMC ever.
  • …After a career of defeats.
  • …And, second in the Championship.
  • …Unfortunately, Jerry Matt is sick as fuck.
  • …Technical term.
  • …But, let’s do this.
  • Now, for some alarming attractiveness.
  • …#9, Volkswagen Motorsport II’s Mikkelsen and his new co-driver, Jaeger.
  • …Andreas and Anders.
  • …Anders, who stepped in after Fløene left (I’ll get to that in a smidge), may be lacking in WRC experience, but Mikkelsen trusts his abilities.
  • …And, he’s shockingly attractive.
  • …God, I hope they can turn left.
  • Now, about Fløene…
  • …Here’s car #5, M-Sport’s Østberg and Fløene.
  • …Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …And, that’s where Ola went.
  • …After Mads’ longtime co-driver (Jonas Andersson) left for the opportunity to work with WRC2 driver (and, fellow Swede) Pontus Tidemand.
  • …Just after Mads signed up for a return to M-Sport.
  • …As Citroën decided to drop their WRC program for 2016.
  • …To focus on their 2017 attack.
  • Hey, speaking of Citroën…
  • …#7, Abu Dhabi Total WRT’s Meeke and Nagle.
  • …In a DS3 WRC.
  • …You read that correctly.
  • …Meeke and Nagle opted to stick with the squad as they work through developments.
  • …So, as not to lose momentum, the duo will be running under ‘Abu Dhabi Total’.
  • …Which is an incredibly great place for Meeke to be.
  • …He gets to compete without pressure AND get involved with development.
  • Next up…
  • …Car #3, Hyundai Motorsport’s Neuville and Gilsoul.
  • …Hyundai i20 WRC, Michelin tires.
  • …Not much to report on these guys.
  • …Last year was rough, but Hyundai has a plan for all three of their squads.
  • …So, all good things as the team continues to build themselves up to where they want to be (and can be).
  • And, the Hyundai train continues…
  • …First, with i20 #4, team leaders Sordo and Martí.
  • …Then, with i20 #10, Kiwis Paddon and Kennard.
  • …Again, with no drama anywhere to be babbled about.
  • …All is well at Hyundai.
  • Okay, so, you want more news-worthy such and such?
  • …Here’s car #12, DMack’s Tänak and Mõlder.
  • …In a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, on DMack tires.
  • …Who were snapped up by the brand-spankin’ new team, when M-Sport got to indecisive.
  • …The partnership has a history, having run the Estonian periodically in the WRC2 category, after he was dumped by M-Sport the first time (a few years back).
  • …So, yay to believing in Tänak!
  • …(I’ve been saying he’s worth keeping around for years.)
  • Hey, who wants Kubica?
  • …I scream, you scream, we all scream for…
  • …Car #16, Kubica and Szczepaniac.
  • …Just a couple of Polish privateers in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, on Pirelli tires.
  • …They (still) don’t know how long they’ll be hanging out.
  • …So, enjoy everything about every moment they’re here.
  • And, back to Not Citroën…
  • …With car #8, Lefebvre and Moreau.
  • …Matching teammates Meeke and Nagle.
  • …In car and opportunity.
  • …Pretty cool opportunity for a rookie, eh?
  • …Learn on the stages, in a WRC car, while working in development, next to a respected veteran like Meeke?
  • …Yeah.
  • It’s Bouffier time!!!
  • …Car #17, Bouffier and Bellotto.
  • …In an M-Sport-run Fiesta RS WRC, on Michelins.
  • …Which appears to be sparking?
  • …The car seems to be running alright.
  • …So, it must be just because Bouffier’s a goddamn firework!
  • …Yeah!
  • …I stand by this statement, 100%.
  • Anyway, the TV coverage is over, but onto…
  • …Car #37, Bertelli and…
  • …Okay, Bertelli has yet to settle on a co-driver, and has switched (again) in the off-season…
  • …This is Scattolin.
  • …Cool.
  • …And, although they’re (still) running a Fiesta RS WRC under Fuckmatiè, they are (now) under the M-Sport tent.
  • …Which is a good place to be for struggling privateers.
  • …They’ll learn a lot and have access to equipment and knowledge that is (truly) invaluable.
  • …So, awesome news on the Bertelli front.
  • And, wrapping up with more rookie action…
  • …Car #6, M-Sport’s Camilli and Klinger.
  • …In another Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …I’ll be honest, I failed to research Camilli before doing this.
  • …Shocking as that may be (as I don’t have the greatest history when it comes to keeping up with the support classes).
  • …But, while my history with keeping up with new talent may be lacking, it just happens to be what M-Sport excels at.
  • …After all, just a few years ago, M-Sport was Ford WRC’s junior squad, seeking out fresh talent to hoist into the WRC.
  • …Whether, or not, this residual mentality is preventing M-Sport from really competing at that top level remains a huge question.
  • …But, what they do with new talent keeps the WRC exciting.
  • Okay, well, that’s that for SS1.
  • …It was last year’s winners, Ogier and Ingrassia, who took the win.
  • …Followed by Meeke and Nagle, Mikkelsen and Jaeger, and The Jer-Bear and his Miikka.
  • …Meeke and Nagle…
  • …Interesting, isn’t it?
  • And, I’ll leave it there.
  • There will be one more stage before crews can call it a night.
  • However, the next TV broadcast won’t be until Sunday’s Power Stage.
  • So, check your local listings.
  • Have a sexy weekend, kids!
  • (Sorry for the flubs.  Let’s just call it ‘those first day back feels’.)

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2015 GRAND PRIX OF ABU DHABI (27.11.2015 – 29.11.2015) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning.
  • Well…
  • …This is it.
  • The 2015 Formula 1 season has come to term.
  • …And, it is about to give birth to the most colorful race of the season.
  • …The grandest of grand finales.
  • …Because, this…
  • …Is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
  • So, let’s just get to the basics, shall we?
  • …The 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
  • …Yas Marina Circuit.
  • …Shaped like a 1950s futuristic take on a ray gun.
  • …It is 5.554km (3.451mi) in length.
  • …With 21 turns.
  • …Run counterclockwise.
  • …For 55 laps.
  • …As a spectacular Middle Eastern sunset leads drivers to an equally spectacular night race.
  • …The sun (literally) setting on another F1 season.
  • …And, when all is said and done, the luckiest of drivers (who complete the task) will have maneuvered 305.355 (total) kilometers (189.739mi).
  • In 2014…
  • …The year of those Abu Dhabi double points…
  • …It was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who not only took the win…
  • …But, the Championship win.
  • …From (teammate) Nico Rosberg.
  • …Whose Silver Arrow fell victim to mechanical gremlins at the worst possible time.
  • …Leaving him in 14th place.
  • …And, second in the 2014 Drivers’ Championship.
  • …But, it wasn’t all about Mercedes.
  • …To cap off their comeback season, Williams clinched the remaining podium spots.
  • …With Felipe Massa in second.
  • …And, Valtteri Bottas in third.
  • …Not to be forgotten, Daniel Ricciardo kept a foot in the door for Red Bull, taking fourth at the grand finale to a tough season for the Austrian squad.
  • So, how about this year’s starting grid?
  • …Well, we do have two updates (this morning)…
  • …In his final race with Lotus…
  • …Before embarking upon a very new adventure with Haas in 2016…
  • …Romain Grosjean will be starting from the back row.
  • …The Frenchman placed 15th…
  • …But, if you’ll recall (or, missed it), ended Q2 prematurely and trackside.
  • …The result of which was a gearbox change.
  • …And, of course, the adjoined penalty.
  • …Also given a penalty was Manor’s Roberto Merhi…
  • …Who placed 20th.
  • …And, with nowhere (else) to move, will be starting his race from pitlane.
  • …Zipping through the tunnel and joining the race from there.
  • …Killing my hopes of all those last minute points panics and wind-tossed caution resulting in crashes and, ultimately, a Manor/McLaren podium.
  • …Hey, don’t crush my dreams.
  • …So, that’s that.
  • …Here’s the rest…
  • …Starting with Rosberg, on his sixth (consecutive) pole.
  • …(Just two short of Senna’s record.)
  • …Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg / Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton
  • …Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen / Force India’s Sergio Perez
  • …Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo / Williams’ Valtteri Bottas
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg / Williams’ Felipe Massa
  • …Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr.
  • …Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen / McLaren’s Jenson Button
  • …Lotus’ Pator Maldonado / Sauber’s Nasr
  • …Ferrari’s Vettel / McLaren’s Alonso
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson / Manor’s Stevens
  • …Lotus’ Grosjean / Manor’s Merhi
  • Here we go!!!
  • Yellow flag…
  • …Turn 1
  • …That’s a Lotus, off.
  • …And, as Grosjean’s further back, it’s got to be Maldonado.
  • …Maldonado and Alonso?
  • Everyone is flying!
  • Verstappen…
  • …Who just turned 18 a matter of weeks ago…
  • …Passing as Verstappen does.
  • …On a track known for its lack of passing opportunities.
  • Alonso to the pits for some repairs.
  • …Maldonado’s season is over.
  • The Incredible Hülkenberg has leaped Bottas and Ricciardo for fifth.
  • …With Bottas slipping all the way down to 10th.
  • Alonso -is- back on track.
  • …By the way.
  • Grosjean slips past Nasr.
  • …For 14th.
  • …Ah, but Nasr pits.
  • In case you’re wondering…
  • …Vettel has moved up to 11th.
  • …After a bad pitwall call left him out in Q1.
  • …Starting in 15th (today).
  • …And, after a bad touch from Nasr in that T1 craziness.
  • At Lap 7…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Kimi, and Mr Incredible lead.
  • …With heavy pitting down the line.
  • …(Thus shaking up the standings quite a bit.)
  • Well, that was an interesting take of two pit stops…
  • …A 2.7-second stop for Mr Incredible.
  • …In and out during a 6.2 for Sainz.
  • Oh!!!
  • …A chunk of Bottas’ wing has flown off in that pit exit tunnel!
  • …Oh, that’s not a good place.
  • …What happened?
  • …Bottas hit Button as he was leaving and his pit neighbor was coming in.
  • …Yes, that was a pitlane collision.
  • …And, with much (visible) hesitation, Bottas kept going.
  • …With a chunk of wing, flopped over the nose.
  • …Obviously, this will be investigated.
  • …Just another hideous pit stop for Williams.
  • …Any guesses as to what they’ll be working on between seasons?
  • Speaking of McLaren accidents…
  • …Alonso received a drive-through penalty for the collision with Maldonado.
  • …On replay, it appears that it was Nasr’s bad touch with Vettel that triggered it.
  • …A ‘nowhere to go’ situation.
  • …Bummer.
  • Bottas has received a five-second time penalty for that unsafe release.
  • …Remember when they put the wrong wheel on his car?
  • …Oh, Williams.
  • …There (really) isn’t much to say, is there?
  • …Just a little note to keep in mind, though…
  • …There is one point separating Bottas and Räikkönen (in the Drivers’ Championship).
  • …Bottas is in fourth, with 136.
  • …With Kimi in fifth, scoring 135.
  • …As Bottas drops to 16th, with Kimi in third, it’s looking like the senior Finn may overtake the junior mint.
  • On the topic of Ferrari…
  • …Vettel is in fourth.
  • …From his 15th-place start.
  • …And, he has yet to pit.
  • …This is not the first time we’ve seen this from the German.
  • …Remember, in 2012, Kimi (who knew what to do, he does all time, you don’t have to remind every second) took the win (then, with Lotus).
  • …And, was joined by his Red Bull friend (and future Ferrari teammate) on the podium.
  • …After driving from pitlane to third.
  • …It’s just what these guys do.
  • …And, where they like to do it.
  • …They should hold hands.
  • Verstappen calls for an emergency stop.
  • …With a flat spot on a wheel.
  • …3.4 stop for the Toro Rosso.
  • …No running into another car or anything.
  • …Cool, eh?
  • …Less cool?
  • …Sainz had been directed to back off his teammate and let Verstappen have in-team lead.
  • Likewise…
  • …Vettel has been told to back off Kimi.
  • At Lap 24…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Räikkönen, and Vettel lead.
  • …Oh, Vettel has just pitted.
  • …So, bump Perez up to that fourth, then.
  • …With Ricciardo rounding out the top five.
  • …Both Manors and Grosjean have (also and finally) pitted.
  • Um…
  • …Everything is (pretty) stable.
  • …And, I don’t (really) have any news to discuss.
  • …McLaren’s Ron Dennis has been bitching about Alonso and Button’s bad behavior.
  • …Regarding when they brought joy to the world – and, team – by jumping up on the empty podium for pictures (citing it as taking the opportunity to grab the podium they just weren’t going to get this season) and the whole Alonso in the lawn chair thing.
  • …Which turned into the ‘Places Alonso Would Rather Be’ gift that keeps on giving.
  • …Yeah, really shitty behavior.
  • …Really ruining everything for everyone.
  • …Dennis has (also) been zipping around rumors that Alonso will be taking a season off.
  • …The Helmut Marko of McHonda, ladies and gents.
  • …Wasn’t this why Alonso left McLaren the first time around?
  • …Good fun.
  • Kimi is directed to pit.
  • …Oh, shit.
  • …A slo-mo front-left tire change for Mr Kimi.
  • …Well, yeah, Ferrari is another team with pit stop issues.
  • …No worries.
  • …He knows what to do.
  • …He reenters just behind Vettel.
  • …Who’d inherited third (from Kimi).
  • …And, being Kimi, he was (probably) able to squeeze a nap into those four seconds.
  • Sainz passes Verstappen.
  • …Because, whatever.
  • …Youths.
  • Wow…
  • …Kimi is right on Vettel through the turns.
  • …I have no idea how this will pan out.
  • …I mean, the Mercs have yet to take each other out this season.
  • …The world has been waiting.
  • Ferrari has instructed Vettel to let Kimi take the lead.
  • …And, these two are all about sharing, caring, and reciprocity.
  • …Odd as that sounds for those two.
  • …They’ve made watching out for one another a priority.
  • …As soon as Kimi started falling back and Vettel gained a shot at a Championship run, Kimi took it upon himself to take a ferociously protective support role.
  • At Lap 38…
  • …Hamilton has taken the lead.
  • …After Mercedes (ever so politely) told Rosberg that he -can- pick up the pace a bit.
  • …With Rosberg, Kimi, and Vettel behind.
  • Apparently, Ferrari radioed Vettel to tell him that Alonso was ahead of him.
  • …Vettel responded…Vettel-y…
  • …”He must really hate me.  I don’t know what’s wrong with him.  I’m losing a second.”
  • Speaking of Vettel…
  • …He pits.
  • …And, learning from recent past mistakes, it’s all good.
  • Kimi has just set a ridiculous fastest lap.
  • …1:45.222.
  • Some Hamilton radio weirdness.
  • …Because, it wouldn’t be a race without it.
  • …They’ve had to instruct him several times to box.
  • …Each more sternly than the last.
  • …With questions regarding number crunching and lap times…
  • …Trying to see how far he can push his tires.
  • …In short, he can’t.
  • …And, he won’t.
  • …As the World Champion pits.
  • Red Bull would like Kvyat to speed up a tiny tad.
  • …To which Kvyat has sent them a memo that he’s “a little busy right now”.
  • In summary…
  • …Team radio conversations are magical.
  • Verstappen and Nasr dance very closely around the turns.
  • …With the Dutchman passing the Brazilian.
  • …In a little rookie race.
  • Vettel and Perez!
  • …Vettel passes Perez…
  • …Perez is up for the fight!
  • …Beauty!
  • Well…
  • …Who’s all dressed up, with everywhere to go?
  • …Rube.
  • …That’s who.
  • …Rubens Barrichello, hanging out at Ferrari…
  • …In a tuxedo t-shirt.
  • …Boom.
  • Emilia!!!
  • …Emilia Pikkarianen!
  • …Olympic swimmer.
  • …Fiancee of Valtteri Bottas.
  • …All-around awesome girly girl.
  • …Looking less smily than she’s known for.
  • …Quite possibly thinking, “Well, at least they put the right tire on”.
  • …Or, “Where’s Susie?”.
  • …Though, if you look her up on the BBC Sports Olympic site, they’ve got a shockingly DMV-esque profile photo for her.
  • Incident between Verstappen and Button, under investigation.
  • …A pretty simple case of running another driver off track.
  • …No bad touches, or anything.
  • …Pretty quick decision.
  • …Five-second penalty for the teen.
  • …Respect your elders, et al.
  • As the hotel lights illuminate the desert darkness in all its technicolor glory.
  • …Important question…
  • …How many people on those yachts are either baked or fried, and just there for the lights?
  • …I would guess a lot of them.
  • Shot of Hamilton’s mom.
  • …This weekend is a family affair.
  • …Button’s mom, and three sisters, are there.
  • …As is Kimi’s fiancee, Minttu, who (after welcoming their first child, Robin, in January) has limited her trips, focusing on quick Euro trips.
  • …Likewise, Emilia has been limited by an intense Olympic training and qualifying schedule, ramping up to next year’s Brazilian games.
  • …On a similar note, Button’s wife, Jessica, has had a crazy work schedule as of late.
  • …Leaving her in Japan for much of the season.
  • …No, Jessica is not there this weekend.
  • …However, newly retired Susie Wolff is there as Toto’s wife, I do believe.
  • …Kind of a different situation.
  • We’ve reached the end, folks.
  • Final lap.
  • Rosberg is in the lead.
  • Will he do it?
  • Yes!
  • Yes, he will!
  • That’s three wins in a row to end the season.
  • Hamilton comes in second.
  • Kimi takes the third step.
  • Vettel, fourth.
  • Perez lands an impressive fifth (just look at who, and what, he’s behind).
  • Ricciardo takes sixth.
  • Mr Incredible takes seventh.
  • Massa comes in eighth.
  • Grosjean ends his career with Lotus with ninth.
  • And, Kvyat takes that final points place.
  • From there, it’s Sainz, Verstappen, Button, Bottas, Ericsson, Nasr, Alonso, Stevens, and Merhi.
  • With Maldonado’s T1 exit being the lone retirement of the race.
  • That’s it, kids.
  • As Rosberg celebrates under the fireworks with some (well-deserved) donuts.
  • Oh!!!
  • …All the drivers are taking turns, doing donuts!
  • …Everyone but Hamilton., it looks like.
  • …His car looks a little lonely in parc ferme.
  • …That was very cool.
  • …There is fun left to be had in F1, folks.
  • …Things get so serious and so restricted.
  • …Moments like that, moments like the USGP Qualifying games, like Alonso and Button’s fun…
  • …They’re good to see.
  • …Because, what’s a sport without fun.
  • …It’s how kids get into sports.
  • …It’s necessary.
  • …Just saying.
  • Was that Vivian?!
  • …Nico Rosberg’s wife?
  • …Like Minttu, she gave birth to their first child a few months ago.
  • …And, obviously, has been a little preoccupied.
  • Podium time!
  • Just a reminder…
  • …There is no champagne on the Abu Dhabi podium.
  • …Just rosewater.
  • …Kimi.
  • Mercedes has Kimi Stevens, Trackside Aerodynamicist, on the podium to receive the team trophy.
  • …Teams do like to send female representatives up to  Middle Eastern podiums.
  • …It’s just a nice little gesture.
  • …It’s not a jab, it’s a symbol.
  • …Modern realities, overshadowed by antiquated stereotypes.
  • …I’m talking about UAE, of course.
  • …F1 remains a boys’ club.
  • …Though, there are quite a few women behind the scenes.
  • …Man, she’s celebrating harder than the dudes!
  • …She’s just having a blast.
  • …And, her boys are making sure she enjoys it to the fullest.
  • …Now, that’s nice to see.
  • …That’s teamwork.
  • Yes, Kimi has remembered that it’s not champagne.
  • …Interest, lost.
  • …But, there’s Minttu!
  • David Coulthard is handling the podium interviews.
  • …And, he asks Hamilton, straight-up, what’s up with the end of his season.
  • …Eh, Hamilton seems okay.
  • …He congratulates UAE on their 44 years of independence.
  • …And, reports that he’s very happy with his season (in general).
  • …Honestly, he seems okay.
  • …As usual, a massive cheer for Kimi.
  • …HE SAID HIS NAAAAAAAME!!!
  • …And, also as usual, it was a good result for the team.
  • …It could have been better.
  • …The season could have been better.
  • …”Not ideal”.
  • …But, it’s good for the team.
  • …Nordics.
  • My god.
  • The season is over.
  • That is 2015 in the books.
  • Mercedes domination, aside…
  • …How crazy-exciting was it?
  • So many ups and downs for everyone.
  • The line dividing top from midfield wasn’t very clear at all.
  • Everyone had these amazing moments.
  • For a while, it looked like Sauber could go from an all-time low (with no points in 2014) to a top contender.
  • …Yes, it fizzled.
  • …But, they were in it.
  • …The competition up and down the grid was just that strong.
  • Even the two stragglers, McLaren and Manor, were just so surprising.
  • …So many exciting moments and they’ve (both) come so far.
  • …Yes, McHonda was aiming for competitive finishes in the second half.
  • …No, they didn’t get there.
  • …But, the reality of it was that this was Honda’s return to F1.
  • …After a very long absence.
  • …There were going to be problems.
  • …And, sadly, the only way to figure out what those problems were was to experience them.
  • …The McHondas struggled to complete a handful of laps through preseason testing.
  • …Their cars finished today.
  • …Completely trouble-free.
  • …That, my friends, is evolution.
  • …Everything changes every year.
  • …Don’t worry about McHonda.
  • …Alonso and Button will be back, the new car will be a fresh product of everything they’ve learned (basically, what you see by the end of the season are Frankencars), and they’ll start with just as much certainty and uncertainty as everyone else on the grid.
  • …On a similar note, remember that Manor wasn’t even a team until the very last minute.
  • …They missed testing, they had no drivers, and they showed up in Australia with two rookies and parts of cars to be put together.
  • …Manor, with their three rookies (rotating Merhi and Alexander Rossi in the second half), became one of the most reliable squads on the grid.
  • …No, they didn’t get any points.
  • …But, they came shockingly close on several occasions.
  • …And, their accomplishments have not gone unnoticed.
  • …Next season, they will be Mercedes-powered.
  • …With their lineup to be determined.
  • …(All I can say is that they have three guys who proved to be mature beyond their experience, able to drive solid races, and take all those punches that came with this weird situation.)
  • …Not too dissimilar were Force India.
  • …They, too, missed out on the first round of testing.
  • …And, had to complete the first half of the season in their 2014 car.
  • …But, they stuck with it, rolled with the punches, used what they had, and Perez and Mr Incredible drove the cars to a team-best fifth-place.
  • …Perez, finishing in ninth, and Hülkenberg, in 10th.
  • …Perez, landing a podium (at Sochi), while Mr Incredible won Le Mans, with both, racing at the top throughout the season.
  • …There is a lot to look forward to for these teams.
  • …They’ve got the talent, and they’re on the right path to building better cars.
  • …And, quite honestly, I think so many of these teams, opting to retain their lineups, was just a stellar move.
  • …If you thought there were a lot of strong performances this season, just wait until you see these guys, all settled into their surroundings.
  • …Even Lotus, who lose Grosjean to Haas next season, have stuck to this strategy, simply promoting (reserve driver) Jolyon Palmer to Grosjean’s vacated seat.
  • …Mercedes will run Hamilton and Rosberg, Ferrari will run Räikkönen and Vettel, Red Bull will run Kvyat and Ricciardo, Williams will run Bottas and Massa, Force India will run Hülkenberg and Perez, Lotus will continue to run Maldonado and promote Palmer, Toro Rosso have retained Sainz and Verstappen (who will still be a teenager), Sauber made a very early call to keep Ericsson and Nasr, and McLaren will continue to race their ultimate World Champion veteran lineup of Alonso and Button.
  • …These guys are going to be comfortable with their surroundings, with their teams, and (all) fluent in their team’s lingo.
  • …In summary…
  • …It’s going to be fantastic.
  • …And, that’s as far as I can speculate on the 2016 season.
  • …Because, you just never know whose car will work and whose car won’t.
  • …Mercedes could have a crappy year.
  • …Force India could have an amazing year.
  • …It’s F1.
  • …It’s unpredictable.
  • As for this season…
  • …Highlights?
  • …Remember when Hamilton got pissed off, had to pull over (after crossing the finish line), and ran over his parking sign after Monaco?
  • …That was beautiful.
  • …As was Rosberg, throwing the cap at Hamilton.
  • …Alonso, in the lawn chair.
  • …All the rain delay shenanigans at the USGP.
  • …Vettel’s first win with Ferrari.
  • …Grosjean and Perez, returning to the podium.
  • …Kvyat’s first podium.
  • …Williams, putting the wrong tire on Bottas’ car.
  • …All those snarky Button radio transmissions (including, but not limited to, “Would you like me to pat my head and rub my belly, too?”).
  • …Verstappen, responding, “NO!” to team orders to let Sainz by.
  • …(And, being correct in his call; not to mention, his father, telling him that he “would have kicked him in the balls” if he’d followed instructions.)
  • …All the rookies.
  • …Not one rookie failed to demonstrate that they deserve a seat.
  • …Every one of them (Merhi, Nasr, Rossi, Sainz, Stevens, and Verstappen) is more than ready to not only race in F1, but race competitively.
  • …I cannot stress how impressive those Manor boys were enough.
  • …They took the whole Manor situation like calm, cool, been there, done that, veterans.
  • …While driving maturely, taking any opportunities that came, but remaining aware of their limitations (in comparison to everyone else), practicing courtesy on track, and maintaining healthy competition amongst one another.
  • …And, Verstappen?
  • …What can you say about Verstappen?
  • …Every so often you get this kid that shouldn’t be there.
  • …And, they turn out to just have a natural instinct for it.
  • …Young kids, like Vettel, Hamilton, and Kvyat.
  • …And, inexperienced guys, like Kimi.
  • …Verstappen has proven that he’s one of those special cases.
  • …And, a few youthful magic moments, aside, he handled himself (both on and off the track) with impressive maturity.
  • …He has that Frogger ability to see openings and the talent to get through them.
  • …He’s got the speed and the talent.
  • …Can pass where passing is nearly impossible.
  • …And, he’s got youth and youthful confidence on his side.
  • …It’s been a lot of fun to watch.
  • …Especially, since he’s never been shy about the fact that he’s enjoying himself and every moment there.
  • …Not unlike Kvyat (last year), who never held back on how cool and weird it was to be racing with all these guys he looks up to.
  • …I think that enthusiasm and respect (for both the opportunity and their competitors) goes a long way.
  • …So, I certainly hope that Manor opts to make the tough decision to retain two of their guys.
  • …Because, it’s been a great season for newbies, and it sure is good to see that every other one has been invited back.
  • …And, there have been so many more great moments that I’m sure I’m forgetting.
  • …(I’ll start kicking myself the second I close this post.)
  • Honestly, I just don’t want to end this.
  • But, I guess I have to.
  • I’ll be back.
  • Making a huge mess, trying different things, and stepping back was good.
  • So, I’ll be back for…
  • …Wow, it’ll be my fifth season.
  • …How on earth did that happen?
  • …Gosh.
  • …Wow.
  • …Anyway, unless something kills me or I just give up completely, I’ll be back.
  • …Australia.
  • …The weekend of March 20th.
  • …Which will be interesting as always.
  • …Remember this year?
  • …Just short of half the grid retired.
  • …A few didn’t even start.
  • …Bottas didn’t even make it to the grid.
  • …And Magnussen had to fill in for Alonso.
  • …Oh, and, wasn’t Button the only car to not score points?
  • …Yes, remember, McLaren started the season with Button’s car being one of the only to finish.
  • …Like I said, it’s been a season of ups and downs for everyone.
  • …I mean, wasn’t Nasr in the top five?
  • …In his F1 debut?
  • …With Ericsson not far behind (I do remember that Ericsson finished, too).
  • …After Sauber failed to score any points in 2014.
  • …Yeah, so, Australia is (always) interesting.
  • …By nature, it has to be.
  • …It’s everyone’s first real world test of these cars.
  • …So, you never know what will happen.
  • …And, that will just be the start to the 21-round 2016 season.
  • Aaawww, I really do have to end this, don’t I?
  • I know there are a million things I’ve forgotten.
  • Things I should have noted about the race.
  • Season highlights I’ve blanked on.
  • I didn’t mention the losses.
  • …The death of Jules Bianchi, after (nearly) a year in a coma, following his 2014 crash at Suzuka.
  • …The first death caused by an F1 race crash since Senna (in 1994).
  • …Manor-Marussia’s second loss in two years (losing test driver Maria de Villota in 2013 to side effects from her 2012 collision with a support truck, while performing straight line tests).
  • …And, how it brought the grid together.
  • …To mourn a death, to celebrate a life, and to do their best to make sure no one has to experience anything like this in F1 again.
  • …But, still, a major loss.
  • …An undeniable wealth of talent, never to be fully realized.
  • …A glaring void on the grid, a void which will never be filled.
  • …And, then, there was the retirement of Susie Wolff.
  • …Who gave so much hope to those waiting to see another woman on an F1 grid.
  • …But, after years with Williams as a development and test driver, concluded that, while she may have had the best dead end job in the world, it was (still) a dead end job.
  • …She made a promise to herself that she would leave as soon as she (genuinely) felt that she wasn’t going anywhere.
  • …And, sadly, she made the call.
  • …A driver who put in decent times through the practice sessions and test sessions she took part in, who put their all into their work and bettering their team through technical feedback and spirit, and a symbol of what could be.
  • …Gone.
  • …A smart girl with a good grip on her own destiny, who made the right call.
  • …But, what a sad call to have to make.
  • …Williams’ future without her (honestly) troubles me.
  • …It was such a close-knit team, with Susie having been with them, providing so much feedback, for so long.
  • …Not to mention, becoming a sort of face of the team.
  • …I don’t know what the trickle-down effects will be.
  • …The shockwaves (of the grounds for her departure), however, will be felt for a very long time.
  • …I look forward to seeing where she goes from here, what she’s got up her sleeve, how she’ll conquer the world, and where she sticks her toe (back) in the motorsport world (because, racing drivers do just seem to reemerge; it’s their lifelong passion, and, without competitive pressure, taking part all comes down to fun.)
  • So, just know that, for all the moments of exasperation in Mercedes dominance…
  • …It has been an absolute pleasure to go along for the ride.
  • …I cannot think of one driver who didn’t provide moments of absolute insanity and excitement.
  • …It’s just been an absolutely spectacular season.
  • …And, I’m sure I say that every season.
  • …But, it (always) rings true.
  • And, as always, I know I (always) forget to tag these posts with the network credit.
  • …So, I have to send a long-distance dedication of the Fatboy Slim song “Praise You” (and, the dancing in the video) to the NBCSN crew.
  • …Will Buxton, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, (to the tune of “Gilligan’s Island”) and the rest.
  • …They’re just the best.
  • …Okay, I’ve never watched another broadcast.
  • …This is what I get, where I live.
  • …But, I just don’t know how it could be any better.
  • …Not only are these guys (all of them) incredibly insightful.
  • …But, they’re so entertaining.
  • …They just don’t miss much, whether it be what’s happening on track, something they’ve noticed about what’s happening on track, or something silly another one of them said.
  • …For example, “space pilots” (…long pause…”I think they’re called ‘astronauts’ these days”).
  • …Or, flashing back to Bob Varsha in 2012 (when they were on SPEED), “The Caterham, moving as if chained to the fence”.
  • …And, of course, there’s (always) Hobbs’ pronunciation-based nickname for Hamilton…
  • …Louise Hameelton.
  • …It’s just always so fantastic.
  • …And, quite honestly, I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, because it’s (kind of) disrespectful to the existing awesomeness, isn’t it?
  • …But, I can’t help it.
  • …I guess I just like to play in their kick ass, cool kids clubhouse.
  • …Anyway, another great season for the NBCSN crew.
  • Okay…
  • …Everyone, just try to focus on enjoying more lazy Sundays.
  • …In The Americas, we’re watching these races in the wee hours of the morning.
  • …So, just try to get some sleep.
  • …The coin that is being a sports fan, right?
  • …You love it.
  • …But, at the same time, are a bit of a slave to it.
  • …Working life around those schedules.
  • …Whatever your sports are, it can get very exhausting.
  • …So, try to enjoy it both ways, the season and the off season, taking it as it comes.
  • …It’ll be March before you know it.
  • Oh, man…
  • Here we go…
  • This is it…
  • Okay…
  • I’ve got this…
  • (Deep breath…exhale…)
  • Have a lovely holiday season, everyone!!!
  • …(I’ll see you in March!)
  • …(Pants optional as always!!!)

MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2015 GRAND PRIX OF BRAZIL (13.11.2015 – 15.11.2015) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE?…

  • Good morning!
  • Who’s ready for the Brazilian Grand Prix?
  • Because, it’s ready to go.
  • And, NBCSN has it.
  • Interlagos!!!
  • …Autódromo José Carlos Pace.
  • …A city circuit that is not a street circuit.
  • …A full, purpose-built F1 track, situated between two lakes (hence, the nickname “Interlagos”).
  • …Right, smack dab, in the middle of one of the most impressive cityscapes in the world.
  • …São Paulo, Brazil.
  • …It is 4.309km (2.677mi) in length.
  • …With 15 turns.
  • …Giving it an E.T. meditating shape.
  • …Today, there will be 71 laps.
  • …Run counterclockwise.
  • …With a total distance goal of 305.909km (190.083mi).
  • Last year…
  • …Mercedes’ Rosberg took the win.
  • …With (teammate) Hamilton on the second step.
  • …And, with Williams’ Massa, thinking globally and acting locally, in third.
  • Qualifying…
  • …It was Rosberg and Hamilton, picking up where they left off.
  • …With Ferrari’s Vettel right on them.
  • …It was Rosberg’s fifth (consecutive) pole.
  • …And, apparently, as good of a time as any for Hamilton to revert to being a douchey, little baby.
  • …If we’re being honest.
  • …Hamilton started the week with a wee-hours car accident in Monaco.
  • …And, though he took immediate and full credit for hitting three parked cars (yep), faulting social life fatigue and a cold…
  • …And, even though he’s (already) collected his Championship win…
  • …His desire to win at Interlagos (which he’s yet to do) has turned him into a bit of a beast.
  • …One word answers at the press conference.
  • …Following failing to join Rosberg and Vettel for the post-qualifying top-three shot.
  • …Which, as I just learned (from the NBCSN guys), is mandatory.
  • …No word on any sort of action.
  • …But, why would there be?
  • …Again, if we’re being honest, Hamilton seems to be able to run people off left and right, and it’s all okay.
  • …Please, riddle me this, that, and everything.
  • …Really.
  • …The whole creation of this site was based on focusing on the lighter and brighter sides of motorsport.
  • …Keep it positive, don’t critique what I can’t (possibly, fully) begin to understand, and so on.
  • …But, really, I’m not the only one who’s noticed this allowance of questionable behavior.
  • …While others get slapped with penalties for far less.
  • …Please, explain.
  • Anyway…
  • …It’s an oddly nice looking sky over Interlagos.
  • …At 81f.
  • …But, in the middle of the Brazilian rain forest…
  • …Well, there aren’t many dry Brazilian Grands Prix, are there?
  • The starting grid…
  • …Mercedes’ Rosberg and Hamilton
  • …Ferrari’s Vettel and Räikkönen
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg and Red Bull’s Kvyat
  • …Williams’ Bottas and Massa
  • …Toro Rosso’s Verstappen and Sainz
  • …Force India’s Perez and Sauber’s Ericsson
  • …Sauber’s Nasr and Lotus’ Grosjean
  • …Lotus’ Maldonado and McLaren’s Button
  • …Manor’s Rossi and Stevens
  • …And, Red Bull’s Ricciardo and McLaren’s Alonso.
  • …Bottas had a three-place penalty, courtesy of passing Nasr on a red flag (in P2).
  • …In turn, Nasr had a three-place penalty for blocking Massa (in Qualifying).
  • …Ricciardo dropped to the back, thanks to another engine change.
  • …And, Alonso is parked in a camp chair, after this McHonda crapped out during Q1.
  • …Look up the hashtag, “PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe”.
  • …It’s beautiful.
  • …No one should be ashamed of having “too much time on their hands”.
  • …It’s great.
  • …The world needed a laugh this weekend.
  • …And McLaren have opted to lead the movement.
  • …Taking the podium, commandeering camp chairs, and so on.
  • Here we go!
  • Two cars, off…
  • …A McLaren and a Sauber?
  • …I sound like Kimi.
  • …That guy and someone.
  • Oh, goddammit…
  • …In a Frogger rush through traffic, Bottas’ tires just missed the tires of Kimi.
  • …Those two.
  • …Seriously.
  • Yellow flag.
  • …As Sainz comes to a very quick halt.
  • …After having to start from pitlane.
  • …Following stopping on track during the recce.
  • …So, they tried.
  • At Lap 6…
  • …It’s Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, and Räikkönen in the lead.
  • Pitting, pitting, pitting.
  • …I do believe the general plan is to make this is a three-stop race.
  • That Rosberg stop seemed a little lengthy.
  • …But, I’ll avoid looking too deeply into it.
  • Despite all the pit stops…
  • …At Lap 17…
  • …Nothing has changed at the front.
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, and Kimi lead.
  • …The lone retirement remains Sainz.
  • My word count just hit 669.
  • …It’s evil, but more sexual.
  • Hamilton is radioing for a pit stop timeline.
  • …He has some tire concerns.
  • Do you want a leader update, or are you cool?
  • …At Lap 25…
  • …Nothing has changed.
  • News time?
  • Well, leadership at Manor is changing.
  • …(Team Principal) Booth and (President/Sporting Director) Lowdon have stepped down.
  • …Effective following Abu Dhabi.
  • …And, they’ve appointed Dave Ryan as Racing Director.
  • …-shrugs-
  • …A bit (very) odd, but let’s see where they’re going with this.
  • Texas has slashed funding, leaving F1 darling Austin in jeopardy.
  • …But, being a favorite, there’s (already) a movement to keep it active.
  • …Ricciardo, himself, vocalized an intention to start a petition if needed.
  • …But, hopefully, it won’t be needed.
  • Hamilton is radioing that he needs a new strategy.
  • …He’s been advised that Plan B is out of the question at this point.
  • …Yep, he’s doing his panicky thing.
  • …If he fails to win, he may just have to pull over, before knocking down his place sign at parc ferme.
  • …Oh, Monaco was beautiful, wasn’t it?
  • Serious wheel-to-wheel between Verstappen and Perez.
  • …Verstappen wins.
  • …#teen.
  • …Oh, and Grosjean slips on through in the middle of it all.
  • …Nice.
  • Hamilton pits.
  • …After being directed that “It’s Hammer time”.
  • Very bad touch between Maldonado and Ericsson.
  • …Maldonado keeps going, as the Swede bounces sideways.
  • …He (Ericsson) appears to (still) be going, though.
  • Mercedes have radioed Rosberg to move to Plan B.
  • …It’s OTC and available when needed, you know.
  • As Grosjean zips by Perez.
  • …Again.
  • At Lap 39…
  • …Rosberg and Hamilton continue to do their thing at the top.
  • …As Kimi and Vettel (momentarily) swap spots behind them.
  • …Eventually returning to their usual running order programming.
  • Maldonado has been slapped with a five-second time penalty for inappropriately touching Ericsson’s tires (earlier).
  • While Massa is being investigated for starting grid tire pressure and temperature infractions.
  • …Hey, if Mercedes weren’t punished (earlier in the season)…
  • …After Ricciardo lost his second-place finish at Australia 2014 for that (very similar) fuel gage silliness.
  • …This (absolutely) cannot be an issue (now).
  • …Pick a precedent and stick with it.
  • Kvyat passes Maldonado for seventh.
  • Back to some news?
  • The Red Bull power unit issue has (finally) been explained.
  • …Apparently, it was a Red Bull engineer, working with Renault, who solved their problem.
  • …So, basically, the issue was an intellectual property matter.
  • …The result of which will be a collaborative unit, running as “Infiniti” (next season).
  • …Which makes so much sense (now).
  • …The frustration, the secrecy, the lack of commitment to another supplier, and so on.
  • …Anyway, Red Bull have confirmed that they are locked and loaded for 2016.
  • Speaking of Red Bull…
  • …Ricciardo passes Perez (for 11th).
  • …As he continues to come back from that back row start.
  • Another pit stop for Rosberg.
  • …It’s clean.
  • …And, away he goes.
  • …Requesting an update on his teammate’s pitting as he goes.
  • …Everyone watching can help you, there, Nico.
  • …He’s got new tires.
  • …He’s right behind you.
  • At Lap 53…
  • …It’s (still) Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, and Kimi on top.
  • …With Bottas (still) behind them.
  • …And, Mr Incredible (still) behind him.
  • Apparently, Button has just given the world another Jenson Button radio byte.
  • …”Stop talking to me in the braking zone!  If you need to talk to me, you’ve got the whole straight!”
  • …Oh, those McHonda boys.
  • …They couldn’t have a better lineup for their development process.
  • …Two World Champions, both tremendously experienced and good for precise and clear feedback…
  • …And, both, just cool and with a great sense of humor.
  • Mr Incredible has radioed Force India, asking for a weather update.
  • …Noting that the track has darkened.
  • …It has.
  • …Substantially.
  • …There are storms forecasted within the next hour.
  • …But, looking at the satellite, I think they’ll be safe to the end.
  • …Give, or take, the possibility of a few warning droplets.
  • …As Vettel requests a weather update.
  • …With the same darkness concerns.
  • …By the way…
  • …Yes, I check the weather, myself.
  • …I (also) do my homework and run searches to answer any background questions.
  • …If you want to annoy me, be that person who asks easily searchable questions over social social media (first).
  • …Pet peeves of the modern world.
  • …Have you ever noticed that those people are (often) the same people who jump on others for (innocent, and assuming people will roll with the known limitations) 140-character-based information infractions?
  • …This is why I’m not allowed on Twitter any more.
  • …Too frustrating.
  • With 10 laps to go…
  • …Nothing has changed at the front.
  • …Your top 10 stands at Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi, Bottas, Mr Incredible, Kvyat, Massa, Grosjean, and Maldonado.
  • Ricciardo has passed Perez (for 12th).
  • Verstappen passes Maldonado (for 10th).
  • Lap 69.
  • …Cue that heavy bass line!
  • Final lap…
  • Rosberg wins his second (consecutive) Brazilian Grand Prix!
  • Hamilton takes a disgruntled second.
  • And, Vettel takes the final step on the podium.
  • …So, they finished in the same order they qualified in.
  • The Finns round out the top five.
  • …Kimi in fourth, Bottas in fifth.
  • …Totally separate, not as one.
  • …Which is nice.
  • Mr Incredible, Kvyat, Massa, Grosjean, and Verstappen complete the top 10.
  • …So, points for those boys.
  • With Maldonado, Ricciardo, Perez, Nasr, Button, Alonso, Ericsson, Stevens, and Rossi completing the task.
  • …As Sainz remains the lone retirement.
  • So, we have some Championship news, then…
  • …Rosberg has secured second.
  • …Meaning Vettel takes third.
  • …Williams has secured third in the Constructors’ Championship.
  • …Behind Ferrari and (winners) Mercedes.
  • …As Red Bull secures fourth and Force India secures fifth.
  • …Force India has tweeted a memo that this is their best result to date.
  • …That said, they’re pretty stoked.
  • …And, to think that they missed out on pre-season test time.
  • …Running a slightly updated 2014 car through a good part of the season.
  • …The same goes for Red Bull.
  • …They’ve been an unreliable mess.
  • …But, these teams have solid drivers and good attitudes.
  • …Just rolling with the punches and looking ahead.
  • …So, great job to those guys.
  • …You earned it the hard way.
  • …You’re good to go from here.
  • Podium time!
  • …Man, Vettel is the wrong/right person to be up there with that Mercedes show.
  • …He’s got the right sense of humor for it.
  • …Just kick back and enjoy the show.
  • Hamilton’s face, behind Rosberg (while Brundle was interviewing him), was priceless.
  • …One of those sort of…frozen smiles.
  • …Forced in politeness, in show.
  • …Eyes, just checked out.
  • …Significantly less amusing was how quickly he rushed off.
  • …Yes, everyone has these days, these crushing moments.
  • …But, Hamilton has a lot of them.
  • …He needs to reel this behavior in.
  • …It’s not cool.
  • …Yes, he wants to win at Interlagos.
  • …The whole Senna-hero thing.
  • …But, I bet it’s at the top of a lot of to-do lists.
  • …Starting with the two Brazilian drivers.
  • …(Massa -has- won at Interlagos; in fact, he won in Brazil just moments before Hamilton took the Championship from him.  Which may have been hard to take.)
  • …It’s the home of Senna, Senna is an F1 god…
  • …Chill, dude; chill.
  • …Repeat for feeling a bit under the weather.
  • …How many times have we seen drivers, sick or hurt, get through with a little more tact?
  • …I think the kicker (here) is that Hamilton is so much better than this.
  • …There’s more than enough evidence out there that he’s a really (genuinely) good, nice guy, who’s worked very hard to get to where he is.
  • …He’s better than these toddler tantrums.
  • …Okay, I’m done.
  • …Sorry, but I go from writing about the inclusive, fun World Rally Championship community…
  • …To this spectacle.
  • …Not that there haven’t been shit shows in the WRC.
  • …Just…nothing quite like this.
  • Hey, but, you know…
  • …While I’m a bit fired up…
  • …Why don’t we get to the most upsetting F1 news as of late?
  • …After years in the world’s coolest dead-end job, (Williams’ test driver) Susie Wolff has announced her retirement from motorsport.
  • …Citing a vow she had made to herself that she would get out if/when she knew that it just wasn’t going to happen.
  • …Sadly, after gaining the respect of the F1 community since joining Williams as a development driver in 2012, Wolff concluded that she was never going to get the opportunity to race.
  • …Adding that she doesn’t see any opportunities for a woman to join the grid in the near future.
  • …Really, how upsetting is that?
  • …Not that she’s retiring.
  • …I mean, it’s a huge loss.
  • …But, that’s what you’re supposed to do with dead-end jobs.
  • …Leave, before it starts to destroy you.
  • …What’s upsetting is that F1 let this happen.
  • …Far more guys have been promoted with far less experience.
  • …Guys have just walked on, have bought seats.
  • …How hard is it to give women the opportunity to fail on their own.
  • …Is that too much to ask?
  • …Is there a fear that they might not fail at all?
  • …I mean, it’s not like football, where men have a massive physical advantage.
  • …If anything, wouldn’t women have a potential advantage?
  • …The car does a lot of the work, which much of the rest being mental and reactionary.
  • …Which are gender-blind qualities.
  • …With women (generally) having a size advantage in the smaller and lighter world of F1 racing.
  • …On top of it, it’s not like you can tell if a driver is a man or a woman.
  • …They’re tucked into cockpits, with full helmets on.
  • …So, someone, please, give me some actual, factual, valid answers as to what the issue is?
  • …And, yes, there’s an early development issue.
  • …That’s known.
  • …But, what about the women who -are- available?
  • …What’s the problem?
  • …And, it’s a widespread issue in motorsport.
  • …Not just F1.
  • …Which is -really- troubling.
  • …Are they not marketable?
  • …That seems incorrect.
  • …There’s a lot women can do outside of posing in bikinis, you know.
  • …And, guess what?
  • …Women are willing to play the game.
  • …We’re not stupid.
  • …But, maybe, it does come back to the Jennifer Lawrence issue of not being demanding enough.
  • …Do women have to be more demanding in their quest for a grid spot?
  • …Is that all?
  • …(I say this like it wouldn’t involve trying to reverse an existence of training in being passive.)
  • …What?
  • …What is it?
  • …Do tell.
  • …Because, it’s not just drivers.
  • …Look at how few women are involved in motorsport at all levels.
  • …Down to fans.
  • …And, I must say, from experience, there -is- a mentality problem, there.
  • …Oh, the times my points and recollections have been responded to with verbal pats on the head.
  • …Just the fact of preceding a title with “female”/”girl” is a little troubling.
  • …How about just “driver”/”engineer”/”reporter”/”writer”/”fan”?
  • …This news hit hard.
  • …Just an absolute blow to the chest, with a sensation of being knocked to the floor.
  • …It’s been hard to shake the feeling of, “what’s the point?”.
  • …And, if all you’re getting from this is that Wolff lacked qualifications, that her DTM record wasn’t very impressive, that it didn’t qualify her for a Super License (under the new rules)…
  • …Can we look at how quickly, and how well, she took to an F1 car?
  • …Can we look at all the drivers who have succeeded in F1 with little experience behind the wheel of anything?
  • …People take to things differently, often unexpectedly.
  • …There was (only) one way to test her abilities.
  • …Like I said, how hard is it to give someone the opportunity to fail?
  • …To prove you were right?
  • …I absolutely, positively believe that everyone out there tries their best.
  • …Give, or take, some off days.
  • …But, really, look at all the questionable drivers who have been on the grid over the years.
  • …Those guys constantly accused of buying seats and such.
  • …Why can’t women have that same sink-or-swim opportunity?
  • …That’s where I’m stumped.
  • …That said, retirement aside, if Manor would like to toss an offer out there…
  • …I’m sure Wolff would listen.
  • …She knows Mercedes engines, you know.
  • …And, it wouldn’t be the first woman to work with Manor/Marussia.
  • …Maria de Villota sustained her (ultimately) fatal accident while running straight line tests for Marussia.
  • …These girls are tough, and they’re just as willing to work and put their lives on the line as men.
  • …With her experience, a Super License would be attainable.
  • …If given the resources.
  • …I just thought I’d toss that idea out there.
  • …(Yes, now, I’m feeling bad for sacrificing Manor’s three existing drivers, all of whom have done so amazingly all season.)
  • …And, for crying out loud, do not let Carmen Jorda slip through the cracks.
  • …She’s here, now give her the opportunity to show what she can do.
  • …She may fail, but there’s just as good of a chance that she could succeed.
  • …There are a lot of changes in line for Lotus.
  • …Let’s not lose Jorda (in F1) in the process.
  • Okay, rant over.
  • More opportunities for women.
  • Less poopiness from Hamilton.
  • Cool?
  • Next up…
  • …The grand finale.
  • …Under the lights of Abu Dhabi.
  • …Abu Dhabi dooo!!!
  • …27-29 November.
  • …Yes, yes, yes, yes.
  • …Those Ferrari boys know what to do at Yas Marina, you know.
  • …Some of them do all time.
  • …In fact, you don’t have to remind every second.
  • …Can they send a clear letter of intent to Mercedes on this last stop?
  • …Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
  • …Until then…
  • …Just look back on this race weekend, at this international sport of so many backgrounds, coming together, competing, and sharing laughs, and remember that there -is- a hell of a lot of good in the world.
  • …Like in F1, there’s a lot of potential that can (only) be reached by trying.
  • Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
  • See you in Abu Dhabi.

MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2015 WALES RALLY GREAT BRITAIN (12.11.2015 – 15.11.2015) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS19 (POWER STAGE)…

  • Gooooooood morning, rally people of the world.
  • It is 6am in the middle of the US.
  • This is Wales Rally GB 2015.
  • And, this is it.
  • No, not just the final stage of the rally.
  • This is the final stage of the season.
  • Aaawww.
  • So…
  • …What does the grand finale look like?
  • Stage 19…
  • …Brenig 2.
  • …The stage is 10.64km (6.61mi) in length.
  • …And, weather-wise…
  • …It’s a goddamn mess.
  • …Even by Wales Rally GB standards.
  • …It’s not just wet…
  • …It’s a hideous mess.
  • …Horizontal, pouring rain.
  • …Forceful winds.
  • …A very cold (not-so-cold) 59f.
  • …Just nasty.
  • Okay…
  • …Here we go.
  • Car #21…
  • …Jipocar Czech National indie darlings Prokop and Tománek.
  • …In Fiona the Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …The duo stands in 21st (overall).
  • …And, took 12th in the first loop (Brenig 1).
  • …Not bad for a car that was hauled back to the service park on a truck (yesterday).
  • …Yes, if you missed it, Prokop and Hyundai’s Paddon had a head-on crash after the final stage of Saturday’s leg.
  • …They (both) took a wrong turn and met in a turn.
  • …Fortunately, all four involved walked away.
  • …But, Fiona was unable to get (back) on the road on her own.
  • …And, that’s that for the Czechs.
  • …Another awesome season, done and…
  • …Can you say ‘dusted’ in these conditions?
  • …The next stop for Martin Prokop will not be Monte-Carlo…
  • …It will be his first Dakar.
  • …I’m so stoked.
  • …I mean, it’s a little like choosing between kids (I guess).
  • …But, yeah, I’m stoked.
  • …So, we’ll pick that story up next year.
  • Next up, car #2…
  • …Volkswagen Motorsport’s Latvala and Anttila.
  • …Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
  • …Michelin tires.
  • …The winners of the first loop.
  • …Sitting in 51st (overall).
  • …After not one, but two retirements.
  • …From the two-time winner of Wales.
  • …But, they slide on through.
  • …And, end the season in second.
  • …So, we’ll be seeing the Finns at the annual FIA prom (to pick up their trophies).
  • And, onto car #14…
  • …Kubica and Szczepaniak.
  • …In a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …On Pirelli tires.
  • …They took seventh in the first loop.
  • …And, stand in ninth (overall).
  • …And, that’s that for the Polish crew.
  • …Honestly, he’s had a great season.
  • …You can’t focus on the numbers.
  • …Numbers never lie, only because they never tell the whole story.
  • …He’s improving at light speed.
  • …People -have- noticed.
  • …But, with Szczepaniak smiling in the background, he fails to leave with any hints of a plan for 2016.
  • …So…
  • …To be continued.
  • Car #4…
  • …Citroën Total Abu Dhabi’s Østberg and Andersson.
  • …In a DS3 WRC.
  • …On Michelins.
  • …Who took 10th in the first loop.
  • …And, after some dings, stand in seventh (overall).
  • …With a carful of mud, I might add.
  • …Yes, they’ve had some issues with weird holes in the bottom of the car.
  • …Just use your imagination, there.
  • …But, numbers, aside, another fantastic run for the Norswedes.
  • How about we think globally and act locally for a moment or several…
  • …Car #5…
  • …M-Sport’s Evans and Barritt.
  • …In a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …On Michelin tires.
  • …Fourth in the first loop.
  • …Sixth (overall).
  • …No more, or less, issues than anyone else.
  • …Just a nice, steady home event for the dragon slayer and his co-driver.
  • …They blast through the storm, and into third.
  • …Behind Kubica/Szczepaniak (second) and Latvala/Anttila (first).
  • …And, ahead of Østberg/Andersson, Lefebvre/, Prokop/Tománek, and Bertelli/
  • …This is another stellar pair with an uncertain WRC future.
  • …Come on, M-Sport.
  • …Just retain your guys.
  • …They’re good for it.
  • #8…
  • …Hyundai Shell’s Paddon/Kennard.
  • …In a Hyundai i20 WRC.
  • …Driving under Sordo’s number.
  • …As Sordo drives under Neuville’s number.
  • …And, Neuville retired under Paddon’s number (on the second team).
  • …Got all that?
  • …They took fourth in Brenig 1.
  • …And, stand in fifth (overall).
  • …The Kiwis survive.
  • …And, they’ll be back for more.
  • …For three (more) years, in fact.
  • …So, see you on the flip-side, guys!
  • Speaking of Hyundai…
  • …Car #7…
  • …Hyundai’s Sordo and Martí.
  • …Who took third in the first loop.
  • …And, who sit in fourth (overall).
  • …Yes, this is the guy who was written off as a tarmac expert.
  • …My, oh, my, how Sordo has grown.
  • …Stay tuned for more.
  • Car #9…
  • …Volkswagen Motorsport II’s Mikkelsen and Fløene.
  • …In a VW Polo R WRC.
  • …On Michelins.
  • …They took second in the first loop.
  • …And, sit in third (overall).
  • …Not to mention, they’ll be taking third in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championships.
  • …So, we’ll be seeing more alarming attractiveness at the FIA prom.
  • …And, of course, with his extended contract, in 2016.
  • Car #3…
  • …Citroën’s Meeke and Nagle.
  • …In a DS3.
  • …On Michelins.
  • …They took fifth in Brenig 1.
  • …And, are in second (overall).
  • …The Northern Irishman and his Irish co-driver survive to take a safe fourth.
  • …And, secure a podium finish.
  • …But, will they be back?
  • …Who knows.
  • …Like M-Sport, Citroën have yet to finalize their 2016 lineup.
  • …I’d be happy to help.
  • …You’ve got two guys.
  • …Great guys.
  • …Keep them, stay consistent.
  • …Go forward.
  • …Move ahead.
  • And, here we go…
  • …Car #1…
  • …The three-time World Champions.
  • …Volkswagen’s Ogier and Ingrassia.
  • …In a Polo R WRC.
  • …On Michelins.
  • …Representing France.
  • …They took eighth in the first loop.
  • …And, lead the rally.
  • …They’re through.
  • …It’s a win for France on this trying weekend.
  • …And, rather than they’re usual exuberance, the Frenchmen seem (appropriately) subdued.
  • …Simply draping a French flag over the windshield.
  • Podium time…
  • …A very quiet podium.
  • …As the six men sharing the steps (including two Frenchmen and Meeke and Nagle, representing Versailles-based Citroën) hoist the French flag in front of them.
  • …In rain-drenched silence.
  • …And, that, right there, is the WRC.
  • …It’s a club.
  • …A weird secret society.
  • …Both exclusive and inclusive.
  • …The goal of which is to try to better one another, while sticking together.
  • …Pushing each other by pushing themselves.
  • …Hanging out with each other, blind team colors and nationalities.
  • …All with the media and fans as a part of the nice, cozy, tight-knit community.
  • …It’s weird.
  • …Honestly, falling further and further behind in my (own) coverage…
  • …Weird as it is to say…
  • …It’s been like being really busy, and losing touch with your awesome group of friends.
  • …That said, if you’re reading this, I’ve relaunched the site and published my posts.
  • …It’s been shitty.
  • …I’ve missed it, I’ve missed you.
  • …Ack, except you.
  • …Yeah, you.
  • …Stop correcting people’s silly 140-character summaries and such.
  • …You’re better than that.
  • …There’s enough crap in the world.
  • …Don’t feed it with your downer vibes.
  • …Because, just look at what we have going on (here).
  • …The world’s (still) a pretty great place.
  • …And we, in the exclusive-inclusive WRC club, get spoiled with a front-row seat to what could be.
  • …This isn’t just Ogier and Ingrassia’s win for France.
  • …This podium is a little love letter in the massive stack of an international outpouring of reminders of just how much the City of Love means to the world.
  • …What happened has nothing to do with France as a safe place and lovely culture.
  • …Bad people did a bad thing to a good place.
  • …They do that.
  • …People who do this stuff just to be dicks.
  • …No, really.
  • …They’re like the Underpants Gnomes (on “South Park”).
  • …”Phase 1 – Gather underpants.
  • …Phase 2 – ?
  • …Phase 3 – Profit.”
  • …Dumbasses.
  • Okay, enough random ranting.
  • Before I go off on a rant on how great the season was…
  • …I missed some cars…
  • …I think it was weather-related.
  • Okay…
  • First up…
  • …Car #37…
  • …Fuckmatie’s Bertelli and Granai.
  • …In a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
  • …On Pirellis.
  • …Oh, yeah, they made it to the end.
  • …Like Kubica and Szczepaniak, though the numbers may not show it, Bertelli has been refining his skills steadily through his rookie season.
  • …He’s had a lot of moments to forget.
  • …But even more to remember.
  • …If he sticks with it, he’ll continue to grow.
  • …Privateers will (always) be at a disadvantage.
  • …They just don’t have the resources to compete at the top on a regular basis.
  • …The goal is to, well, be Martin Prokop.
  • …While he may not be a threat at the top every rally, he’s (always) a force to be challenged.
  • …He’s scarily steady.
  • …Which, in the unpredictable world of rally, makes him a very dangerous man.
  • …He’s respected, he’s a threat, and he’s one of the most experienced drivers in the field.
  • …I’m forgetting who has more experience, Prokop or Latvala.
  • …Anyway, that company, alone, says a lot about where he stands in the WRC.
  • …Which makes him the example for privateers to follow.
  • …I think, if they can just hang on, just stick it out, Kubica and Bertelli can get there.
  • …So, good job to the Italian squad.
  • …It was a long, tough rookie season.
  • …But, it ended on an absolute high.
  • Second up, car #12…
  • …Lefebvre and Prevot.
  • …Racing in the third Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 this weekend.
  • …On matching Michelins.
  • …With (only) a few WRC outings, the duo conquered the beast that is Wales Rally GB.
  • …Another impressive weekend for the Frenchman (and, everybody’s go-to veteran co-driver).
  • …And, like Ogier and Ingrassia, one can only imagine that this weekend was an extra mentally-draining task.
  • …French driver, French team…
  • …It meant something.
  • …So, fantastic job, guys.
  • Right, so, that’s that for Wales Rally GB.
  • How did the stage end?
  • …Latvala/Anttila took the win (and three bonus points), Mikkelsen/Fløene took second (with two points), and Kubica/Szczepaniak took third (and that final bonus point).
  • …With Meeke/Nagle and Paddon/Kennard rounding out the top five.
  • …Evans/Barritt took sixth, followed by Østberg/Andersson, Lefebvre/Prevot, Ogier/Ingrassia, and Sordo/Martí in a safe 10th.
  • …As Prokop/Tománek and Bertelli/Granai took 11th and 12th (respectively).
  • …Again, those numbers…
  • …Most squads were preserving their places in those very tricky conditions.
  • …Honestly, it was pretty amazing that not one car ran into trouble.
  • …Seriously tremendous driving.
  • …This is exactly why I love rainy rallies.
  • …It (really) puts man over machine.
  • …These guys were REALLY driving this weekend.
  • …Love it, love it, love – it.
  • So, then, how did the rally pan out?
  • …Well, Ogier/Ingrassia took the win.
  • …With Meeke/Nagle and Mikkelsen/Fløene hoisting the French flag with them on the podium.
  • …Sordo/Martí left a little note regarding their gravel abilities in fourth place.
  • …With (upgraded Hyundai teammates) Paddon/Kennard rounding out the top five.
  • …From there, Evans/Barritt, Østberg/Andersson, Lefebvre/Prevot, Kubica/Szczepaniak, and Bertelli/Granai completed the top 10.
  • …Prokop/Tománek finished 21st (yes, 21st for 21).
  • …And, The Jer-Bear and Anttila managed to survive in 51.
  • …Collecting those three bonus points to save them from total loss.
  • …However, Hyundai Mobis’ Abbring/Marshall (car #10) and Neuville/Gilsoul (car 20), and M-Sport’s Tänak/Mõlder (car #6, who crashed out of today’s opener while in fourth) terminally retired, taking zero points from the season finale.
  • How about those final Championship standings?
  • …The top five drivers looked like this in 2015…
  • …Ogier – 263, Latvala – 183, Mikkelsen – 171, Østberg – 116, Meeke – 112
  • …While the top five co-drivers were in synch with their drivers…
  • …Ingrassia – 263, Anttila – 183, Fløene – 171, Andersson – 116, and Nagle – 112
  • …And, in 2015, the Manufacturers’ Championship panned out like this…
  • …Volkswagen Motorsport – 413, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 230, Hyundai Shell WRT – 224, M-Sport – 181, Volkswagen Motorsport II – 131.
  • …Wait…VW11 – 131?
  • …I’m blanking…
  • …Mikkelsen/VWII must not have been eligible for Manufacturers’ points somewhere.
  • …I’m taking crazy pills and forgetting something, there.
  • …Anyway, they take that fifth spot no matter what.
  • Now…
  • …Brace for a rant and a half…
  • …Or, not.
  • Toodles, 2015.
  • It’s been the most 2015-y 2015 to date.