Monday, November 21, 2011

Move over Gordon – Schuey is King of Indianapolis (Con’t)

After the force Majeure shenanigans of 2002, which should have been Michael Schumacher’s second USGP victory at Indianapolis, the German’s win streak was set to commence...

It’s kinda funny how nearly eight years past can seem like such a long, long, time ago, eh? As all I can truly say I remember about this race was reveling in glee over DER TERMINATOR’s arch rival ‘Monty (Juan Pablo Montoya) going up in a proverbial cloud ‘O smoke - along with his championship hopes, as the Driver’s title fight was now just between Schumi and The Kimster, aka Kimi Raikkonen - as JPM had collided with ‘Rubino on lap-3 and a half hour later was assessed a Drive-thru penalty. NO word on whether or not ‘MAC Montoya stopped for any MicDoogal’s French Fries or not; Hya!

Juan Pablo Montoya:
"The race was basically decided by the penalty, that came at the same time as the rain storm and so I had to delay my pit stop to change to wets."

Yeah, Y’all read that correct, rainfall at the Speedway played a crucial part in Michael’s victory - as everybody initially tried Slip-slidin’ away on their mix ‘O dry rubber, i.e.; Michelin vs. Bridgestone. As the Michelin shod runners had the advantage in semi-inclement conditions on their dry grooved tyres. Yet the Bridgestone wet weather tyres proved to be vastly superior as the rain intensified with Herr Schumacher managing to haul himself up from seventh place whilst picking off the Michelin Boyz ‘Juan-by-Juan, - taking over the lead on lap-38.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen’s consolation prize of finishing runner-up meant he still could conceivably become world champion at the Season Finale in Japan by winning the race, as long as Schumacher failed to score any championship points - as karmically, your Humble Scribe would magically be on hand a Fortnight later to witness history being made at Suzuka!

Date: September 28, 2003
Circuit length: 4.912km (2.606m)
Race distance: 73 laps
Pole: Kimi Raikkonen; McLaren-Mercedes
Winner: (2) M. Schumacher; Ferrari
Second: Kimi Raikkonen; McLaren-Mercedes
Third: Heinz-Harald Frentzen; Sauber-Petronas

The fifth running of the USGP at Indianapolis was moved to a summer date for the first time, which I can only assume was done in order to “Twin” with Oh ‘KanaDuh’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event - which the FIA has now come to their senses of twinning next year’s Canadian Grand Prix with Austin during June when Texas is typically OVER 100deg-f! And wisely moving it to November instead...

Yet all I can truly recall ‘bout the ’04 race was that Ralfanzo had a mighty shunt aboard his Team Willy-mobile on lap-9; most certainly a result of the carbon fibre debris littering the track and puncturing his Michelin tyre, as the Williams-BMW clouted the wall heavily ARSE-bacwards I seem to recall and ultimately ended up injuring Ralf Schumacher’s back.

Yet, the real confusion, Err consternation of the race occurred on lap One’s charge into the first corner when Cristiano da Matta slammed on his brakes to avoid colliding with Toyota teammate Oliver Panis and triggered a five-car collision, which claimed the rides of Christian Klien (Jaguar) and Felipe Massa, (Sauber) with Giorgio Pantano (Jordan) and Gianmaria Bruni (Minardi) joining the fracas, whilst Da Matta lumbered around to the Pitlane with a deflated rear tyre.

And while there were some complaints of Herr Schumacher allegedly jumping the races first restart on lap-5, his famous brother Ralf’s accident would seal la Scuderia’s finishing positions when Ferrari called both cars in at the same time - forcing Barrichello to sit idly behind Michael for service, while a late charging ‘TakuSan would ultimately garner the podium’s final stop after “Trulli Scrumptious” (Jarno Trulli) threw away his third place finish in the waning moments...

Date: June 20, 2004
Distance: 73-laps
Pole: Rubens Barrichello; Ferrari
Winner: (3) M. Schumacher; Ferrari
Second: R. Barrichello; Ferrari
Third: Takuma Sato; BAR-Honda

All I can say for this race is I remember wildly LAUGHING MY ARSE off Sunday evening outside my hotel nearby Portland International Raceway - as I’d made the decision to go ‘Solo for my very first time in many moons to the Champ Car race... As Randal, another of our ex-yearly Race Gang members and CART/CCWS nicknamer extraordinaire - the man who forever anointed Stefan Johansson “Stevie Johnson,” etc had loaned me  his spare cell pone for the weekend - the very first ever cellular device I’d ever used and thus calling Arizona on Randy’s ‘Dime - future Blogmeister Miguel broke the news of the ATROTIOUS FARCE occurring at Indianapolis, as I hadn’t heard a single word ‘bout it to that point, except for some garbled comments over the PA System interrupted by the ultra SWEET sounding Ford XFE turbo ‘lumps...

And since this ultra smooth “NF64” racing blog hadn’t been born yet - I’ve only managed to scribble on No Fenders about what appears to be Indy Cars FINAL race at PIR in;

Thus, as everybody knows this race was FARCICAL!!! Although ‘MichelinGate was NOT the Speedway’s fault, nevertheless, I simply cannot sum up the  day’s running of six cars for three Podium spots any MORE succinctly then Paul Stoddart did so in;

Date: June 19, 2005
Distance: 73-laps
Pole: (4) M. Schumacher; Ferrari
Winner: (4) M. Schumacher; Ferrari
Second: R. Barrichello; Ferrari
Third: Tiago Monteiro; Jordan

This was my second and unfortunately last USGP at Indy... As I have several great memories about that  race, albeit many center ‘round the fact that then 87yrs young Aunty Harriet was  attending her very first and only Formula 1 race... Which was a scorcher HEAT wise... As  we sat in the baking sun for several hours only to witness seven cars careening towards us into Turn-1 from our far away vantage point. As it’d be the very last time I saw DER TERMINATOR win a Grand Prix in person - as I still recall doing my Herr Schumacher baton waving Podium Jig afterwards!

As many Thanxs to ClydeOhRama for driving me Coast-to-Coast and making this happen!

Date: July 2, 2006
Distance: 73-laps
Pole: (5) M. Schumacher; Ferrari
Winner: (5) M. Schumacher; Ferrari
Second: Felipe Massa; Ferrari
Third: Giancarlo Fisichella; Renault

Its funny to Mwah, especially since I know I watched the race - along with screaming at le Telescreen for a young ‘Louise “JAGUAR” Hamilton to NOT let Ferdi-the-Putz, aka Fernando Alonso beat him to the chequered flag! As the two McLaren Boyz were in an almighty Dust-up, with Hamilton fresh off of his debutant Grand Prix victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve the race prior... Whilst Ferdi was seeing his hoped for grip upon Team Leader of the Woking-based squad disappear into the sunset! As I can still hear Fernando ‘Wingeing about how I’m supposed to be Number One Ron!

Thus, with Michael Schumacher’s enforced retirement and the installation of The Iceman Kimi Raikkonen alongside Felipe Massa at la Scuderia, the Ferrari Boyz were left scrapping over Indy’s final Podium step as the McLaren’s were in a  league of their own during that final Indianapolis F1 race, as  it’s hard to believe its been four years now, eh?

And perhaps ‘KOVY, a.k.a. Heikke Kovalainen somewhat pines for those past days - having scored fifth-place points for Renault that day, while I’m guessing I was most captivated by a new driver that weekend instead...

As seemingly the Torch was passed From Herr Schumacher to a fresh faced 19yr old Teenager from Heppenheim, Germany named Sebastian Vettel... who ironically began his now amazing streak of “Youngest Ever” Formula 1 accomplishments by scoring his debutant Grand Prix point whilst substituting for “The Krakow Kid,” aka Robert Kubica at BMW-Sauber upon finishing in eighth-place...

Date: June 17, 2007
Distance: 73-laps
Pole: R- Lewis Hamilton; McLaren
Winner: R-Lewis Hamilton; McLaren
Second: Fernando Alonso; McLaren
Third: F. Massa; Ferrari

So there Yuhs have it, as Michael Schumacher - NOT! Jeff Gordon is truly the King ‘O Indianapolis... As let’s consider the fact that if DER TERMINATOR hadn’t pulled that final lap Shenanigan which gifted ‘rubino the ’02 victory... Then perhaps Five-times would be a moot point with Schuey sitting on six USGP Grand Prix wins instead, eh? While the German also notched up five Pole-positions and two runner-up finishes for a fairly DOMINANT Reign at Indy...