As the Cometizione was not only Intense, but also Broiled Over…
Ah, the perfect tonic to a lazy Sunday, whilst listening to the Drip-Drip-Drip of some much needed precipitation early morning, albeit just Drizzle and 0.02-inch Ain’t gonna do us here in Oregon and the Northwest any good! But I digress…
As Thar was motor racing round the globe, with the three rings of my virtual Big top consisting of Formula 1, IndyCar and MotoGP, but not necessarily in that order, and that doesn’t even include that other Taxicabs racing series. As I won’t attempt covering the whole weekend since it would take me forever to type!
Having begun the day by starting with the Kneedraggers’ before immeadiately switching over to Big NBC, which did it’s Darndest to live up to it’s “Nothing But Commercials” acronym! And then capping off the evening with a Nightcap of hearing the Sickly Sweet Coo-Coo-Cooing sounds of the Mothers Shoe Polish lady…
Portuguese Grand Prix
Autodromo Internacional du Algarve (Portimao, Portugal)
Unfortunately, the worst crash of the weekend occurred when MotoGP Rookie sensation Jorge Martin had a Wicked, nasty accident during Saturday’s (Free Practice) FP3 session, as thought I read he’d been complaining ‘bout rear end stability? As I Don’t know the details, other than initially he had Head, Hand and Ankle Contusions and was complaining of a sore knee. As a Medic said he was worried about his Hand, while his Foot also probably had fractures and he was being evacuated to nearby Hospital for further evaluation, but none of his Injuries were life threatening.
As Martin’s intended Surgery in Barcelona was postponed until Wednesday to let his Head contusion improve before attending to his right hand and ankle fractures and certainly will miss the upcoming Jerez round.
Takaaki Nakagami also had a Nasty crash during Friday’s FP1 and complained of a sore shoulder and road rash! Effectively sitting out Qualifying and thus started the race 21sth and last, but gamely soldiered home to a 10th place finish on Sunday.
Marc Marquez finally made his MotoGP return some nine months later, starting P6 and having a brief scare when collecting rival Joan Mir’s rear tyre with his front Michelin! Running as high as fourth before fading to ninth, but finishing P7 due to attrition.
Jack Miller’s Nightmare season continued when the Aussie crashed out again, accompanied by The Doctor’ (Valentino Rossi) and Crowd Darling Miguel Oliveira amongst others. As the front row protagonists featured mightily in the race.
As the Commentators correctly predicted that Points leader Johann Zarco would dualy be leading into Turn-1 thanks to the Ducati’s Mega’ Holeshot device, as the Frenchman rocketed away from Pole Sitter Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins, with Zarco’s compatriot Quartararo falling backwards.
Yet Quartararo serenely carved his way to the lead with the two Suzuki’s of Rins and Joan Mir in tow with Zarco P4.
Then mayhem commenced behind Fabio, as Zarco powered by Mir onto the Podium before Rins cracked whilst harrying Quartararo when trying to continue matching lap times and crashed with seven laps remaining before Zarco crashed a lap later after fading from second to fourth!
While (Francesco) Pecco’ Bagnaia thundered home an impressive second on the Factory “red Bike” after having lost the Pole due to a Yellow flag infringement in Qualie and starting a dejected 11th! With Mir claiming his first podium of the year with P3. As Quartararo takes over the Points lead after back-to-back victories.
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Barber Motorsports Park (Birmingham, Alabama)
The condensed two-day weekend saw Colton Big Shot! Herta making a silly mistake and crashing in the first practice, a portent of what lay ahead on race day. And Arrow McLaren SP New signing Felix rosenqvist inexplicably crashed entering the Pitlane in Practice 2, the start of a very auspicious weekend for the Swede. Ironically the two would be linked to more issues during Qualifying, whilst Felix’s team-mate Pato O’Ward stormed to his second ever Pole position.
As we All know about the big melee on Lap-1 when Josef Newgarden made an uncharacteristic mistake, sliding onto the grass and pirouetting, setting off a multi-car collision that caught out Ryan Hunter-Reay, Herta and Rosenqvist, who was starting P22 due to having his Fastest Qualie lap Deleted for infringing Herta on Saturday. Along with a hapless Max Chilton and Rinus VeeKay, as none could see Josef spinning ahead due to it being a Blind corner.
As Hunter-Reay and Newgarden’s race were over, while Rosenqvist and Herta returned multiple laps down. Chilton’s ride required minor repairs that put him 2-laps behind, while VeeKay’s ride was undamaged and being forced to pit early ultimately enabled him to rebound to a sixth place finish!
Pato O’Ward simply burned his Firestone Alternate rubber to it’s core while leading, necessitating an early stop and a three-stop race strategy, which apparently second place Alexander rossi was told to counter, as both would never truly recover and ultimately end up fourth and a disappointing P9 respectively.
Although thought I read IndyStar’s Motorsports Scribe Nathan Browne casually mention that O’Ward pitted early on his first stint due to a Slow tyre leak…
But the race ultimately was all about Alex Palou who won his maiden IndyCar race when debuting for thou cheepster’, nee Chip Ganassi in just his 15th race during his Sophomore season.
Palou made some of his own (CGR) Chip Ganassi Racing History upon becoming only the third ever CGR driver to win upon their IndyCar Debut for the team. Joining the likes of Mikey A’ (Andretti) in 1994 at Surfers Paradise, Australia, and the late Dannyboy Spike’ Wheldon at Homestead, Miami in 2006.
As the likeable Spaniard drove a superlative race, running a two-stop strategy with unbelievable speed while making his necessary fuel mileage numbers. As eventual runner-up DJ WillyP’ (Will Power) thought for sure Palou was on a three-stopper the way he was driving so fast!
While Scott Dixon turned another “Ho Hum” race into a third place finish and I believe his ninth podium at Barber?
And I’ll let others in Ye Blogosphere’ dissect our vaunted Rookie trio, other than very impressed with Romain Grosjean’s P7 start and 10th place finish for CWR, (Coyne Ware Racing) arguably one of the Minnowesqe teams on the grid.
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Autodromo Internacional Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola, Italy)
F1 Rookie sensation Yuki Tsunoda, who seems to be emulating fellow Countryman Taku-San’s (Sato) “No Attack, No chance!” driving style, crashed during Qualifying and started last in P20.
While Golden child, aka Sir Lewis claimed his 99th Pole position ahead of the Red Bull duo with Sergio Perez grabbing his first ever front row start in second, undoubtedly the Highlight of his weekend, while team Defacto Max Verstappen would have to settle for third.
The race began as a Wet start with everybody on wet weather tyres, albeit a fifth of the grid electing for the full wet rubber vs. intermediate tread-block compound.
As Thar were action ah-Plenty due to the inherit spray! With Verstappen making an excellent start utilizing second gear to muscle his way past Hamilton into the first turn!
Later on, Adding Insult to Injury was when Mick Schumacher was forced to limp around another full lap with a crumpled front end missing it’s wing due to the Pits being closed due to his nose wing littering the Pitlane, YOUCH!
But the Talking Point of the race was when a very exuberant George Russell tried overtaking Valterri Bottas Silver Arrows in his Williams, in what I found to totally be Russell’s Fault! And although I’m Not a fan of toto Wolff’s, I did appreciate him publicly calling Bullshit upon Russell’s claim of Bottas racing him unfairly because the Finn knows Russell will take his Mercedes seat…
As I’ll save my thoughts upon that for another No Fenders post later since this one’s getting Uber long-winded!
Ultimately Verstappen never relinquished his lead, while Hamilton made an untypical error but rebounded nicely to finish P2 and leads the Points table by one marker due to claiming the race’s Fastest lap. With McLaren’s Lando Norris claiming a well deserved podium in third place.