Sunday, September 23, 2012

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal - Round 11 Hungarian Grand Prix

In 1986 Oran "Juice" Jones had a hit with his song about betrayal, discovery, and fiscal revenge, and Formula One began the slow subversion of the Soviet empire by bringing the lavish luxury of capitalism to Hungary.  Coincidentally this also happens to be when vampires began a resurgence.

Just shy of 2.75 miles long the dusty twisty Hungaroring is not known as a track you can pass on.  While not as slow as Monaco, Hungary is still pretty technical and demanding with the second slowest corner of the season.  A 50 MPH hairpin at turn one provides the best passing opportunities on the track.  Lots of curves means lots of G and this should really push the drivers physically.

With just over 1900 miles left to race this year Alonso looks to be the man to beat but I'll bet this season still has some surprises left.   Speaking of Ol' Eyebrows, he celebrated his 31st birthday during the race.  Let's see what Hungary brings.

Favorite Track Feature
I'm going to have to go with the 11, 12, 13 combo. It is great to see the cars stick to those curves and come rocketing out of 13 way faster than you'd expect. Runner up is the long start/finish straight which allows for some great outbreaking maneuvers especially as this is the DRS zone as well.

Favorite Quote
Martin Brundle describing Grosjean's predicament as he approaches the McLaren "The Lotus will start under steering like a cross-channel ferry." Not really as bad as that Martin, but we get the sentiment.
Runner Up: Hamilton crying like a little bitch because back-markers don't pull over, turn off their engine and trigger the cyanide capsule hidden in a hollow tooth. Buck up little Hammy. Sometimes you need to actually pass people.

Favorite Moment
The crazy start sequence disco light bit which hypnotized Schumacher and made him turn off his engine. Rumor has it McLaren had been working on that particularly tailored mind control sequence from back in the days of Coulthard but then Schumacher retired and they never got a chance to use it.

To be fair to Michael, he was probably doing the right thing. Either he figured his engine was hot enough and since they were not going to have a regular start, he could have ended up sitting there until it blew or it probably is buried in the actual regulations in some obscure paragraph about Charlie Whiting Gestures. He was 17th anyway so a calculated engine kill was probably still the best choice for him.

Favorite Easter Egg
Smiley faces on Vettel's helmet
Practice sessions started off well enough then the rain came and it was all ice.  Michael Schumacher, ever the perfectionist, demonstrated the ultimate in understeer.
One item that I found interesting was Lotus' new aero development that made an appearance in practice.  Unfortunately the rain didn't allow them to really test with it as they would have liked but I'm hopeful we'll see it in a race soon.

Qualifying was pretty entertaining, well, Q2 was for me.
Q3 had Hamilton up front halfway though and that held.  It wasn't very thrilling but considering this season is generally exciting,  I can almost appreciate the change of pace.

The Race start was pretty basic fare, with Vettel trying to get past Grosjean and ending up getting passed by Button.   Lotus tells Kimi to hit "OK" twice, reboot, and and then reinstall Kers 2.0 from the floppy disks they've left in the glovebox..

"Now where do I plug in the usb?"
Hungary was the site of Jenson's first F1 win and it looked like he had a pretty good shot at a win here. Jumping up to 3rd in the first lap was exactly what he needed to do.

Pretty cool battle between Alonso and Perez but it ended exactly as we would have expected.

Grossjean's first stop had a problem and it cost him the lead and Raikkonen's last reminded Scruffy le Pew that there is currently only one World Champion on Team Lotus.

All in all a pretty good event. Any race where Hamilton wins is not going to be an exacting one.  Yes, he bores me and is a petulant little bitch, but its more about how he does well when everything goes his way but he's not known for winning from 15th.  Not a ton of drama or excitement but the fans got a decent race and there was enough racing to not put me to sleep.

1st Hamilton
2nd Raikkonen
3rd Grosjean

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