Tuesday, May 27, 2008

F1: Monn knockoe - 2008 edition

Ok, although I’m sure there were more interesting tidbits discussed during this past weekend’s Formula 1 race… Here’s what grabbed my attention all those days ago, as it was rough sledding having binged out on the Indy 500, Monaco GP and Monte Carlo GP2 races…

Thursday tidbits
Monte Carlo is so SMALL that you could fit the ENTIRE Principality easily INSIDE of Indianapolis, as its ONLY ¾ square mile and is the second smallest country in the world after Vatican City.

Listening to the Krakow Kid’s (R. Kubica) radio transmission, about the apparent problems in setting up the chassis, Peter Winsor wanted to know if he should go ask Ron Dennis if he had any more advice for Robert on where to LOSE some more weight after the “Ronster” had made jokes about how large Kubica’s nose was on the grid in Istanbul…

Top trap speeds; Lewis Hamilton hitting 291kp/h (180mph) while setting fastest Thursday practice time, as the cars scream around the two mile circuit in just under 80 seconds per lap at an average of 100mph! In a city you can completely circumnavigate in just over one hour…

Favourite Circuits
Steve Matchett:
Whenever anybody asks me what Formula 1 circuit should I go to? I always reply Monza and Monaco. Monza simply because of the passion of the Tiafosi and Monaco because its so unique…I mean every night you can go walk around the streets that the race is on, have a drink in the bars and eat at the restaurants all surrounding the course and get as close to the mechanics as possible while they’re working on the cars…


David Hobbs: But if you want to watch open racing then Spa. Although it’s a long circuit and the weather’s a bit dodgy and not very well attended, once you’re inside you can walk from nearly every corner to corner…

Bob Varsha:
Now you’ve got me thinking what’s my favourite circuit and to gain me some extra time I’m going to defer to Peter.

Peter Winsor:
Well Bob, I MUST SAY I’M ANNOYED! That we’re NOT going to Indianapolis this year… Although I’m NOT saying that Indy is my favourite circuit, but what a Major race that was and Formula 1 NEEDS to be in America…

As May turns to June and we’re going to Canada, but NOT the United States, I think it’s TERRIBLE! And I’m SICK about it and I’m rather SICK about the Team Owners who prattle on about how we NEED to be in America, how they love America, etc. but are NOT doing ANYTHING about it! As they should be out there ACTIVELY PROMOTING IT! The Drivers should be out there, the Top Three should be out there doing long media conferences selling Formula 1 to the American public and sponsors and as an F1 economy there NOT doing it and I think they’re remiss for NOT doing it…

Well I totally agree with you Peter to a large extent… Although BMW Sauber did indeed have there pit complex in Las Vegas this January. (Consumer Electronics Show) And there were tons of people there… And I think you’re 100% right on we need more Teams promoting it. Why couldn’t McLaren, Ferrari and others be alongside BMW’s Pit Lane Park? Except for perhaps the Commercial aspect of it, as Bernie Ecclestone may raise his hand and say I NEED a piece of that!

It is after all the largest market for all of the top manufacturers… Definitely Ferrari and BMW, Mercedes, Honda… It’s the BIGGEST single market and F1 NEEDS to be there!

Saturday tidbits
The opening montage was sprinkled with comments from past and present Formula 1 luminaries, as “The Wee Scot,” a.k.a. Sir Jackie Stewart began the sequence by stating; Monaco hasn’t changed at all; Still the most glamorous, still the most colourful. It’s still the most exciting!

Felipe Massa; Its like racing a go kart in your house.

Kimi Raikkonen: If you don’t push, you don’t get the lap; but if you push too hard then you end up in the barriers.

Ayrton Senna; You position your wheels with the Armco ALL the time and you’re cutting it that close.

I don’t know why, but I found it just a tad bit eerie to be hearing Senna’s voice once again… As Bob Varsha had marveled earlier how Senna had once claimed that he’d look over at the giant video monitor while racing up the hill at “Bo Ravage” to see where his competitors were…

Mika Hakkinen; It’s very exciting, I mean you’re so close to the barriers all of the time.

David Coulthard; You cannot push 100% here, because if you go 101% then you’re into the barriers… Which were prophetic words as DC had a huge shunt towards the end of Q2 and although he was 10th quickest, advancing to the final Q3 “Qualie” session, he’d go NO farther due to the obvious damage he’d done against the Armco…

And Triple World Champion Nelson Piquet, who never managed to win at Monte Carlo once said; its like trying to fly a helicopter in your living room… While it was fun to hear Keke Rosberg, who’d won Monaco 25yrs ago for Williams telling Peter Winsor during his grid walk that he wouldn’t try telling son Nico anything because he wouldn’t listen to him anyways…

And “Quick Nick” Heidfeld’s record run of 28 consecutive Top 10 qualifying positions was snapped this weekend, when the German could do no better then 13th place in Q2 qualifying…

Thus, it was a very surprised Felipe Massa, who’d earlier said he didn’t like Monaco very much, snatching his 12th career pole over the REAL Iceman, a.k.a. “The Kimster,” nee Kimi Raikkonen. Massa’s Pole was the first for the Scuderia in Monaco since Michael Schumacher’s in 2000, while the surprising lockout of the front row by Ferrari was the teams first since 1979, which was also the last time a Scuderia pilot had won from Pole Position. (Jody Scheckter) Forlornly, Team McLaren took the second row on the grid after having been faster then the red cars during practice.

Adding more drama to the race was that it would become a wet/dry affair as it began raining just prior to the start of the race and everybody was using Bridgestone’s “Wet” intermediate tires as Massa shot off the line with Louise “Jaguar” Hamilton making his way around the Kimster, while fellow Finn, Heikki Kovalainen stalled on the formation lap and was forced to start from pit lane.

And I still don’t know how he got away with it, but Hamilton kissed the Armco with his rear tire, having to immediately duck into the pits for a replacement, as he’d later comment that you couldn’t see where you were going in the spray and everybody was aquaplaning…

Meanwhile Massa made a mistake while leading and handed the front spot over to Kubica, who led for quite sometime in the BMW Sauber, yet after pit stops Hamilton built up a massive forty second lead before Nico Rosberg slammed heavily into the swimming pool complex’s barriers, bringing out a safety car, which evaporated Lewis’s lead. By this time, Fredrico Suave (Alonso) who’d been the first to bravely switch over to “Slicks” on the drying track had shown that this was the preferred tire as he began setting fast lap times, while his hapless rookie teammate Nelson Nelson (Piquet Jr.) who’s reportedly under increasing pressure over keeping his ride managed to slide off track after they’d thrown dry tires on his mount…

And just prior to the restart, we heard Force India’s Adrian Sutil’s radio transmission note that he was the meat in a Scuderia Ferrari “Works” sandwich, with Massa ahead and World Champion Raikkonen lurking directly behind, as the young German had driven an amazing race from P18 to fourth, being on track to garner Force India’s and his first career points…

Yet, With everybody having made the switch over to the dry grooved tires and the laps winding down in what would become a timed event, the Kimster got a little too overaggressive and punted Sutil out of the way, to no avail! As Kimi would ultimately end up out of the points after his multiple race transgressions, including a drive thru penalty for Ferrari failing to have his tires mounted prior to the three minute board…

Thus Hamilton led Kubica and Massa across the finish line and the win was “Jaguar’s” first victory in the Principality as an F1 pileto and he seemed genuinely taken by his accomplishment as he was the first Englishmen to win on the streets of Monte Carlo since Graham Hill had done so for Lotus in 1969.

Meanwhile, Rubens Barrichello, who was starting his 256th Grand Prix, celebrated by scoring his very first points in over one year, while the hapless young German hot-shue Sebastian Vettel finally righted his miserable season with an impressive run to fifth place…

Qualifying Results
Pole: F. Massa; 2. K. Raikkonen; 3. L. Hamilton; 4. H. Kovalainen;
5. R. Kubica; 6. N. Rosberg; 7. F. Alonso; 8. J. Trulli; 9. M. Webber;
10. D. Coulthard

Race Results
Winner:L. Hamilton; 2. R. Kubica; 3. F. Massa; 4. M. Webber;
5. S. Vettel; 6. R. Barrichello; 7. K. Nakajima; 8. H. Kovalainen

2008 F1 Point Standings
(Round 6 of 18)

L. Hamilton 38
K. Raikkonen 35
F. Massa 34
R. Kubica 32
N. Heidfeld 20

Ferrari 69
McLaren 53
BMW Sauber 52
Red Bull 15
Williams 15