Tuesday, March 23, 2010

F1: 2010 Bahrain GP highlights

So, I must admit that I found the 2010 season opener to be a bit dull, especially after having first watched that overly entertaining Sao Paolo Indy Car Hydrofest... And thus, not surprisingly, “The Big-4” Constructor’s, who coincidently are the favourites for this year’s Title contenders locked-out the first four rows upon the grid, albeit reigning World Champion ‘JENSE had to be a bit miffed with being in last place of these vaunted eight competitors... As it’s a bit funny to think that there are others outside of these four Teams who want to crash their party. Thus well done by Renault’s lead driver Robert Kubica to start P9, with Force India’s Adrian Sutil claiming the final grid spot of the ‘Q3 “Qualie” session...

Yet unfortunately the Row 5 recipients who were the only Top 10 runners opting to start out on the “Harder” prime rubber had their strategy go up in smoke when Mark Webber pulled an 007-like maneuver when the Aussie called Smoke-On upon the lights going green and laid down an immense amount of blue oil smoke!

And while all of the Big 4 runners finished in the points, these are now awarded to tenth place and thus Force India’s other driver Vitantonio Liuzzi finished in P9 with the ageless ‘Rubino, a.k.a. Rubens Barrichello scoring a single point for tenth place in his record 285th start.

Meanwhile I thought the ‘New Boyz did an admirable job in their respective Organization’s debutant Grand Prix and look forward to seeing them claw their ways forward, although I suppose somebody will have to disappoint sooner or later, eh?

Race Drive of Bahrain
Whale although I plan on “Awarding” this in the remaining races to hopefully some of the “lower” drivers, I’d have to say my choices are between Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Mercedes Nico Rosberg, as Nico has been overshadowed by his teammate, some Seven Time World Champion named Michael Schumacher. Yet the Scuderia’s Massa is returning to action from that horrible accident at the “Hunga-boring” race weekend, which still gives me chills when I sit there and watch his Ferrari’s V8 lump idling away in monotone with NO movement from the cockpit which I’ve kept on tape. So, for his heroics, not to mention out qualifying the much ballyhooed double World Champion Alonso, Felipe Massa gets my nod upon closing that very scary racing chapter of his career!

Don’t forget that this year features a new points scoring system that now pays out to 10th place, with a higher total points scoring system enacted: 1st = 25pts; 2nd: 18; 3rd: 15; 4th: 12; 5th: 10; 6th: 8; 7th: 6; 8th: 4; 9th: 2; 10th: 1. So keep those calculator’s handy!

Not a bad start to the season, albeit both drivers only passes for position came courtesy of their pit stops and their crews excellent work, as Hamilton was gifted his podium by Vettel’s troubles, while button was perhaps too cautious in regards to expected tyre wear and still wasn’t able to pass Schumacher even in competitive equipment.

No. 1) J. Button: Q) 8th; R) 7th
No. 2) L. Hamilton: Q) 4th; R) 3rd

Although the spotlight was firmly affixed upon Seven Time World Champion Michael Schumacher’s return to the cockpit of a Formula 1 car for the first time since his retirement at the end of 2006, it was his junior teammate Nico Rosberg who outshone his elder countryman on track this weekend, as Nico not only out qualified Schuey, but finished ahead of him, as I enjoyed Michael’s comments about his coming together with Nico at the start by saying: “May be we kissed a little bit...”

No. 3) M. Schumacher: Q) 7th; R) 6th
No. 4) N. Rosberg: Q) 5th; R) 5th

Red Bull
Talk about the tales of two different races inside a team, as ‘ZEBB, a.k.a. Sebastian Vettel clearly held the upper hand upon teammate Mark Webber, easily out qualifying the “Aussie” by taking his sixth career Pole Position and then apparently cruising off into the sunset to lead wire-to-wire, before a mysterious spark plug failure robbed him of apparent victory... As Vettel had to settle for fourth place, while Webber came home further down after his smoke screen dissipated.

No. 5) S. Vettel: Q) Pole; R) 4th
No. 6) M. Webber: Q) 6th; R) 8th

Although I feel that Alonso’s victory was gifted to him after Vettel’s mechanical woes, nevertheless the Spaniard joined the rarefied company of Fangio, Mansell and Raikkonen as first time Scuderia debutants to claim victory... Although I was more impressed with Felipe Massa’s outcome, as he outpaced Alonso in qualifying, which for only the second time in two years the Double World Champion lined up behind his teammate! And recall that it was Massa who decimated The Iceman last season.

No. 7) F. Massa: Q) 2nd; R) 2nd
No. 8) F. Alonso: Q) 3rd; R) 1st

2010 New Boyz
What can you say about these guys? Whale, they all made it onto the grid, and their finishing order seems to be indicative of their resources and amount of effort made by each of them, as clearly it would appear at the moment that Lotus is the best funded of these three...

So Round 1 goes to the Lotus squad who was the only team of the newcomers to actually finish, with “Kovy” taking top honours, whilst his elder teammate also limped home to see both cars classified as finishing, albeit “The Scrumptious One” (Trulli) was 3 laps down and suffering from a hydraulics problem.

No. 18) J. Trulli: Q) 20th; R) 17th, R-Hydraulics (-3 laps)
No. 19) H. Kovalainen: Q) 21st; R) 15th (-2 laps)

Hispania Racing
As I’ve already noted, it was a superb triumph just for this team to make it onto the grid, not to mention have both cars contest the race, even if the second chassis didn’t actually run its first lap until Saturday’s Q1 “Qualie” session, where debutant Karun Chandhok promptly found out just how far the deep end of the grid was! And due to his total lack of practice, not surprisingly Chandhok crashed out on the race’s first lap after hitting a patch of the new infield’s bumpy portion of track! While his Rookie teammate Bruno Senna had a far better showing, albeit also retiring with mechanical gremlins.

No. 20) R-Karun Chandhok: Q) 24th; R) Retired; Accident (24th)
No. 21) R-Bruno Senna: Q) 23rd; R) Retired; Engine (19th)

Virgin Racing
Although Timo Glock won the qualifying duel of the New Boyz, after an entertaining scrum with Lotus’s Heikke Kovalainen, the German was forced to retire due to a noted Gearbox issue. Rookie teammate Lucas di Grassi Also retired early with hydraulic gremlins, which seemed to be the Achilles’ heel of the Virgin racecar this weekend, as perhaps the virtual world’s design computations cannot account for the real world beatings they take?

No. 24) T. Glock: Q) 19th R) Retired; Gearbox (120th)
No. 25) R-Lucas di Grassi: Q) 22nd; R) Retired; Hydraulics (23rd)

Q) = Qualifying;; R) = Race