Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yes, We Know...

The three of you who read this blog may have been considering lettings us know that our recap of the European race is missing.  Please refer to the title of this post.  We just aren't going to talk about this race.  It wasn't intentional but things get in the way and sometimes these things happen.

Look... There wasn't anything wrong with this race.  We're just not going to talk about it.  Two DRS zones, perfect weather, regulation changes and excellent driving made for a pretty good race.   If this race took place last year it would have been a very exciting race.  The bar has been set so high this year that this race was just in the acceptable zone.  There were good fights and great pit stop action.  It just didn't really inspire us to comment on it.

I would have liked to see Alonso win this one because I like those moments of unbridled joy the fans get when something like that happens but I'm really not going to talk about that.  If I were, I'd probably also add that it was still OK though because 2nd would still be satisfying enough for the fans to have a good week.   And I am really not going to spend time talking about how short the pit stops were this time even though they were very short and it was pretty damn cool.

If I were going to talk about my favorite quote of the race, it would have to be from Hamilton when McLaren told him that his rear tires were heating up and he responded with "I can't go any slower".  Which was a very polite way of saying, "This is your problem.  Why don't you just put a bomb underneath my seat that will detonate if I finish in the points."   Then on lap 41 the engineers tell him "Hey pick it up a bit, will ya?" and another typically British polite response, "This is as fast as I can go."  Which is a very polite way of saying, "I hate you guys, I hate it here, my bum hurts."

If I were commenting on the race, I'd mention how the fight between places 12, 13, 14, and 15 were more exciting than the race up front.  Finally, I would probably talk about how Vettel won the race, with fastest lap and pole position, but it's just not worth typing it out.

I'll check with Tim to see if there anything he's not interested commenting on.  If there is, we might mention it.

Tim's Take:

In many ways I too don't want to talk about this race, but I will anyway.  Many of you will likely wish I'd just followed Fred's lead.

Two weeks prior to the European Grand Prix, was perhaps one of the best Formula 1 races witnessed by man.  OK, maybe the Canadian GP wasn't one of the best of all time, but it was certainly one of the best this season; indeed one of the best in recent memory.  This season, races have just gotten better and better.  So my hopes were high when the weekend approached with the European GP on the agenda.  After all, last years European GP we saw Hamilton pass a safety car (what were you thinking man?!), Alonso get pissed about the late penalty Lewis got for it (and rightly so), Kovalainen do his best impersonation of a ramp at a monster truck meet, and Webber accepting Heikki's challenge and try to kiss the sky, apparently having listened a few too many times to his Jimmy Hendrix CD. 

Now, I confess, I'm not a big fan of this track.  With the exception of the last corner, which from appearances is very hard to get just right, there are no real memorable corners and no elevation changes. There's not even any interesting scenery around or near the track.  There is that swing bridge smack-dab in the middle of the course that's supposed to move in a very interesting way, but as the drivers are using it to cross over some water, it remains stationary and doesn't really get to show off it's best feature. 

Qualifying got underway, and it was the usual suspects dropping out at Q1.  Q2 got underway and not much happened there that was note worthy, with the exception of Pastor Maldonado setting a time that seemed crazy fast for his Williams car.  Having had a fairly spotty record this season, I had high hopes for him and the team.  Sadly, in Q3 he had some sort of mechanical problem out on track before he ever got a time in, stalling on track and putting him right in harms way.  The Red flag came out while they cleared the track.  That was the most exciting thing that happened, and even that was kind of boring.  Q3 resumed with - you're going to be totally shocked by this - Vettel setting the fastest lap.  I know!  I was shocked too.  In a move that sort of perfectly expressed the boring routine nature of this qualifying session, two of the drivers decided that they weren't even going to come out!  Nope, it just wasn't worth their time.  "Ef it!  We're going to go soak in the pool." So instead of 10 drivers vying for pole there were only 7 (after Pastor retired).  And let's be honest, they were all really trying for 2nd, as it was a foregone conclusion who was going to get pole.

The race started with the race to the first corner and Massa making an absolutely crazy mad dash from his 5th starting position right up past Alonso and Hamilton.  How he got his Ferrari up there so quickly and clean I don't know, but it was cool. But his lead over Alonso didn't last as Fernando passed him in two corners later.  Vitaly Petrov had a particularly lousy start as he left his car in 2nd gear.  When the lights went out, he lurched forward before realizing what had happened.  It wasn't a full second before he dropped it to 1st and was accelerating like hell, but 4 cars managed to pass him in the first 3 seconds of the race.  It's amazing how a small lapse of concentration can cost so much.

From that point on, from the third corner of the first lap, it was simply a procession to the finish.  Nothing of interest happened.  Ok, the fight between Alonso and Webber for 2nd was interesting with the position changing 4 times through out the race, but that's it.  Their were a few little tidbits in the back of the pack, here and there, but by-enlarge, nothing happened.  Any NASCAR fan watching this race because their F1 buddy told them how great F1 is, would have found almost nothing in this race entertaining.  Hell I'm a huge F1 fan and I found almost none of it entertaining.

In the end, Vettel won, followed by Alonso and then Webber blah blah blah...  There was one noteworthy finish, and that was Jaime Alguersuari, coming from 18th and finishing 8th for 4 points in the championship race.  I'm sure the Spanish crowd loved that.  And with Alonso coming second, they probably saw the race very differently from me.  At any rate, congrats to Jaime!

What is interesting is the changes that are a-comin'.  At the next race, gone are the blown diffusers!  How is that going to shake the apple cart?  People are speculating that the Red Bulls are going to lose a lot of their down force along with their competitive edge.  Of course all the teams are going to suffer, so perhaps the hobbling will be rather uniform throughout the grid.  All I know is I can't wait for Silverstone to find out, and to wash this bad taste out of my mouth.